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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — The Columbus Municipal School District takes another step towards hiring a permanent superintendent. Board members selected Ray and Associates during a special call meeting Thursday to find the ideal candidate for the vacancy. The board had planned to select a firm last week, but tensions flared, and the decision was delayed.

Controversy has surrounded the decision, as some say race has played a role. Board President Angela Verdell denies that allegation.

“The Columbus Municipal School District is an equal opportunity employer, so that is the position the school takes as well,” said Verdell.

There were three search firms up for consideration. The board voted 3 – 2 to hire Ray and Associates. The firm’s initial fee is $13,500.

[WCBI initially reported a base price of $15,000 for Ray and Associates’ services. That was incorrect, and the figure has been updated to the correct amount of $13,500.]

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