Indiana

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What's Next After Alabama School Board Passes On White For Top Job?

Eugene White leads an Indianapolis Public Schools board meeting in August.

Indianapolis Public Schools superintendent Eugene White came within one vote of the top job in the Mobile, Alabama school district, reports Scott Elliott of the Indy Star.

But after the Mobile school board ultimately opted to hire a compromise candidate (the current interim superintendent) it appears White will be staying in Indianapolis — at least for now.

White — arguably Indiana’s highest-profile district-level school official — had also been a finalist for a superintendent vacancy in Greenville, South Carolina. But the board there also voted to pass on White earlier this week.

“Despite continuing to receive offers to interview from across the country, I am not looking for another position,” White said in a statement after the Mobile board’s vote. “I’m going to do what needs to be done in IPS. I’m going to make sure we put the best programs in place to continue to improve the educational opportunities for our students.”

White has publicly said he wants to take a job in the southeastern U.S. — it’s where he’s from, where he still has family, and where he’d like to retire. But as we wrote earlier this week, White’s job in Indianapolis is not as politically secure than it was when he took it. White testing of the job market raises questions about the future of Indianapolis Public Schools.

Though White has allies on the IPS school board, Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard has said he wants his office to take control of the district. In addition, the much-discussed Mind Trust proposal (which came out a few days after our half-hour-long interview), if implemented, could shift more control out of the IPS district office.

State superintendent Tony Bennett has publicly criticized White and IPS administrators throughout the process of taking over four of the district’s schools. He says White doesn’t have students’ best interests at heart in the takeover process.

Some rapid reactions to the news from Twitter:

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