School board hopefuls react to Murfree's deal

Dr. Joshua Murfree

The Dougherty County Board of Education unanimously approved Dr. Joshua Murfree's superintendent contract Wednesday, but that's just the beginning.

Three board seats are up for reelection this year and several candidates are speaking out about Murfree's deal.

Dr. Joshua Murfree will make $147,000 a year once he gets a required training certificate. He gets many of the same benefits as current Superintendent Dr. Sally Whatley who makes $149,000. The contract was the last step in Murfree's controversial journey to superintendent.

"I think it's important for me to look forward and get out and tell the people what I want to do, things that I feel we can do to better prepared our children for tomorrow," said District 6 hopeful Darrel Ealum.

Ealum is one of six candidates running for three different board openings. The only incumbent running is Junebug Griffin. FOX 31 News called all six, but only three were available for comment. District 2 Candidate Donnie Smith says she's unhappy with Murfree's contract, but will try to work with him if elected.

"If he does a good job, I'll be all for it. I'm not gonna take exception and go the opposite direction and set there and fight likes been going on for this last year," said Smith.

All seven of the board members voted to approve the contract, but those who might be in these seats in the future don't necessarily agree.

"Dr. Murfree is only receiving $840 less than Dr. Whatley and Dr. Whatley is clearly more qualified than Dr. Murfree," said District 4 Candidate Carol Therrin.

Therrin is the only candidate running to replace District 4's Emily Jean McAfee, who is not seeking reelection. Therrin says she's also concerned that Murfree doesn't have proper certification for the job.

"The school board is already strapped for money so whatever costs are incurred for any mentor or the certification, I believe, should come out of Dr. Murfree's pocket."

Here is a copy of Murfree's contract: Murfree's approved contract