The Escambia County School Board is expected to possibly start discussions Tuesday night on whether or not to fire Escambia County Superintendent Tim Smith.

The agenda item, titled “Superintendent Smith Contract,” was a late addition to the regular monthly board meeting agenda, added by District 2 School Board member Paul Fetsko.

The item is described in online filings as a recommendation to “Approve that the board enter into discussions on terminating Superintendent Smith’s contract.”

At least one council member will need to give a motion of approval, followed by a second by another council member, for the discussion to begin.

Fetsko told the News Journal he had the opportunity to speak with Smith last Friday afternoon and to inform the superintendent of his intention to add the item to the agenda.

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“I didn’t want him to be caught off guard,” Fetsko said. “It’s really an opportunity for the board to have a discussion about what’s going on and what needs to be changed going forward, regardless of who’s in the position.”

The board discussion on the future of Smith’s contract will take place less than a week after several Escambia County citizens publicly questioned Smith’s professional competence.

Escambia County School District Superintendent Tim Smith speaks during the Parent University graduation ceremony at Pensacola High School on Thursday, June 23, 2022.

Last week, eight people voiced their disapproval of a test question that all middle and high school students in the district were required to read at the start of the year as part of a textbook on student rights and responsibilities.

Escambia County Public Schools provided their students with a Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, outlining acceptable behaviors and student expectations, which ended with mandatory test sections to prove that students had read the book.

The middle and high school test issue that angered parents discussed nude photo swapping, revenge and suicide among students.

Melanie Johnson, a parent of a college student, was one of eight citizens who addressed the council last week.

“I never imagined the test would contain such harsh and inappropriate words and scenarios,” she said.

Smith is the first appointed superintendent to serve the county since a voter-approved referendum in 2018 moved the superintendent from an elected to an appointed position. Smith entered the role in 2020 and has been placed under contract to serve until June 2024.

Colin Warren-Hicks can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8680.