HPSD hires interim superintendent

HATTIESBURG, Miss – One week after the Hattiesburg Public School District Board of Trustees revealed a budged deficit, the school district has a new leader.

In a special meeting the HPSD Board of Trustees unanimously selected Dr. Greg Ladner as the interim superintendent. Ladner comes with over 30 years of experience working in public schools with 15 years as a superintendent.

Ladner will replace James Q. Bacchus who resigned earlier this month.

Dr. Ladner said placing the right people in positions is the first step in turning the district around, “Those people around me that understand the direction that we’re going to be going in and that they carry on some of those things that we do right, into the future.”

In an email last week board president Marcus Cathey stated that after reviewing the 2014-2015 school year budget, district’s spending exceeded revenue, “The school district over extended itself or overspent an excess of 3 million dollars.”

Ladner says he hasn’t reviewed the district’s finances yet,“But I do know this…you can’t operate a school district when your revenue is being overrun by your expenditures.”

We asked school board president Cathey how the trustees might have overlooked this overspending, “We are a policy making board we are not responsible for the day-to-day operations of the district,we are a governing board.”

Ladner’s start date hasn’t been determined but he says once given the green light; it’s possible the district will see cuts, “I will take the budget that we are operating in this year and look at recurring and non recurring expenditures. Yes, I will have to look at many many programs. I’ll have to make sure that the programs we are utilizing are programs that we truly believe in and are using with fidelity.”

Cathey agrees stating,“We’ll be looking at everything. Everything is going to be evaluated to make sure we have the right people in place to serve the students of the district.”

The interim superintendent tells us he’s not here to point fingers but fix the issue, “I’m the voice of the students ten years from now, 20 years from now, and in perpetuity right now so i’m going to make decisions that not only get us through today; but also into our future.”

School officials say Ladner is expected to start by January 4.

Statement released Dec. 18 by Board of Trustees President Marcus Cathey regarding the school district's fiances.
Statement released Dec. 18 by Board of Trustees President Marcus Cathey regarding the school district’s finances.

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