SEBRING — Are we going to have a new superintendent in two years?
District 5 School Board candidate William “Pep” Hutchinson believes the School Board of Highlands County will have a new superintendent in 2016.
At the Highlands Today candidate forum on July 24 he said, “We are going to have a new superintendent in two years.”
Responding to a Highlands Today candidate questionnaire, Hutchinson said, “charter schools, they are coming in superintendent’s last full year.”
The Champs Charter school is scheduled to open in August 2015.
Also, Hutchinson said, “We have just lost two knowledgeable members, and in 2016 we will lose our superintendent.”
Superintendent Wally Cox told Highlands Today on Tuesday that he has made no decision on seeking a fifth term.
“Right now I am planning to continue on being superintendent,” he said. “Every time I had to run for reelection somewhere in the last year, I talk to my family again and talk to my staff and my principals and I make a decision.
“I know I won’t be making any decision until probably 2016.”
Cox said he didn’t know where Hutchinson got his information.
“I have not talked to him at all,” he said.
Hutchinson said Wednesday that Cox told him he would not seek another term.
He spoke to Cox at Ag-Venture in October 2012, Hutchinson said. “He said, ‘Pep, I am not running.’”
Hutchinson said he believed there is a newspaper quote in which Cox stated he would not seek another term.
“I know he told me personally,” Hutchinson affirmed.
If Cox decided to run again in 2016 it would be for a fifth four-year term.
He started working in the district’s finance department in 1976. Cox was elected to his first term as superintendent in 2000 and was re-elected in 2004. He was unopposed in 2008.
For the 2012 election, Hutchinson and Roberta Peck announced their candidacies for superintendent prior to Cox’s re-election announcement in January 2012. Rebecca “Becky” Fleck, then assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, made it a four-way race when she announced her candidacy in April 2012.
Cox won the Aug. 14, 2012 Republican primary election defeating Hutchinson and Peck.
He defeated Democrat Fleck in the Nov. 6, 2012 general election.
Cox said Tuesday, “I take one day at a time, one year at a time and right now I have too much work to do to get school open to really even worry about whether I am going to run or not. I haven’t even thought about it much.”