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story.lead_photo.caption A classroom is shown in this 2015 file photo.

The North Little Rock School Board voted unanimously Thursday to use the Ray and Associates Inc. search firm to find a new superintendent for the 8,000-student district.

Board President Dorothy Williams asked board members to choose between Ray and Associates and McPherson and Jacobson LLC.

Board member Natalie Wankum made a motion to move forward with Ray and Associates, which was approved. She said the maximum it will cost is $25,000.

Brian Brown, chief financial officer for the district, said the contract will come out of the school board's operation budget.

Board member Tracy Steele questioned if there would be enough money in the line item on the budget to pay the firm.

Wankum said there would be plenty of money available since the district isn't paying former Superintendent Bobby Acklin's contract after his termination by the board.

Brown said money can be moved around to make sure the firm is paid.

The board voted 4-3 on April 23 to immediately terminate the contract of Acklin, who served as interim superintendent before becoming the district's full-time superintendent in July 2018.

In January the board had evaluated Acklin's performance and voted to extend his contract -- set to expire June 30, 2020 -- to June 30, 2021.

The School Board voted 7-0 earlier this month to appoint Keith McGee interim superintendent of the district, effective immediately.

McGee, who has a doctorate in education, has served as assistant superintendent and director of secondary education for the district since December. He previously was principal at Horace Mann Magnet Middle School in the Little Rock School District.

The board approved McGee's hiring and the terms of his contract during a special meeting conducted via videoconference.

Metro on 05/22/2020

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