School board rejects superintendent buyout over player rape

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) – The Hamilton County Board of Education has voted against buying out Superintendent Rick Smith’s contract, leaving the embattled official at the helm.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press ( reports that five of the board’s nine members voted Monday against a buyout for Smith, who has been criticized for his handling of the rape of an Ooltewah High School freshman by three teammates in December during a tournament in Gatlinburg. Police say the freshman player required emergency surgery after teammates held him down and assaulted him with a pool cue.

A motion to fire Smith did not receive a second at Monday’s meeting. Another board member, Rhonda Thurman, said the board can never be kept in the dark again.

Under Smith’s contract, he will remain superintendent until the summer of 2019.