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CPSB reviewing applicants for new superintendent of schools

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish School Board is reviewing job applications for its next school superintendent.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Whest Shirley continues to work on a month-to-month contract after the board voted not to renew his full contract last year.

Shirley began his tenure as the district superintendent in 2017 after he worked 10 years as an administrator and taught school in Vidalia for 22 years.

During Thursday’s meeting, board members said they received approximately 10 job applications for the next superintendent of the school district and will start performing background checks on each of the applicants before interviewing them.

Board President Fred Butcher said he could not release any information about the people who applied for the position. The deadline to apply was March 22.

In October, residents of Vidalia and Concordia Parish responded to the school board’s decision not to renew Shirley’s contract by showing up outside of a board meeting with signs to protest their decision.

The board allowed Destiny Robb, a Vidalia resident, to speak during the board meeting and Robb made a plea for the board to reconsider renewing the contract until the end of the school year.

In other matters during Thursday’s meeting, the board discussed the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds for the Concordia Summer Bridge program, which is meant to curb learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as offer extracurricular activities for students over the summer in a camp-like environment.

The program is being offered as an addition to traditional summer programs used for credit recovery, school officials said.

Butcher said the school district could receive $18 million from ESSERF. According to spending requirements, 20% of the funds should be used for educational programs and 80% should be used for building improvements, he said.

The summer program is scheduled to last from June 2 to June 30 between 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily with transportation and meals provided.

The program is free to all students enrolled in Concordia Parish Schools, including upcoming pre-kindergarten students through 11th-grade.

Parents can register their children for the program at cpsbla.us. Registration needs to be completed by April 16, according to the school website. Those with questions about the program can email summerbridge@cpsbla.us.

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