North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

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May 9, 2014

Updated: Bobby Neighbors chosen as Jefferson County Schools interim superintendent

BIRMINGHAM — The Jefferson County Board of Education has reached into its past for an interim superintendent.

Dr. Bobby Neighbors, who served as full-time superintendent from 2000 to 2003, was appointed in a special board meeting Friday as the temporary head of the system.

Neighbors will lead the Jefferson County Schools through June 30, until the board selects a permanent replacement for Dr. Stephen Nowlin, who served for 16 months before being ousted earlier this week.

Neighbors, who also served previously as superintendent of the Jasper City Schools system, led JefCoEd during the time it was under state takeover because of unaccounted funds that put the system's cash reserves below state-mandated minimums.

Board President Jennifer Parsons cited Neighbors as someone who would be "comfortable" with taking the position on short notice.

Parsons said that the board hopes to have a permanent superintendent in place by July 1.

Neighbors' contract calls for him to be paid $23,000, which is the maximum allowed for someone already drawing a pension through the state retirement system. (Nowlin was paid more than $18,300 a month as superintendent, and continues to draw that salary in a consulting role through the middle of 2015, under the terms of his stepping down.)

Neighbors will begin his new appointment on Monday. He was not present at Friday's meeting, but is expected to attend another special meeting Tuesday morning.

Neighbors originally hails from Nixburg, Alabama, in Coosa County.

[Updated with additional information at 5:25 p.m.]

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