Looney says he#039;s going nowhere

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 21, 2006

School chief Mike Looney is upset with a Montgomery television station for trying to fuel speculation that he is a candidate for the superintendent position in Montgomery County.

CBS affiliate WAKA was at Thursday night's Butler County Board of Education meeting to speak with Looney, who was assistant superintendent in Montgomery before coming to Butler County in July 2005.

&#8220I'm a little bit discouraged that a media outlet would start an investigation based on rumors,” said Looney.

The Montgomery school board voted last Friday to fire current school superintendent Carlinda Purcell and both parties are currently involved in court-ordered mediation to resolve the terms of her departure.

From his understanding, Looney said there was a &#8220movement” among some members of the Montgomery community to bring him back.

Looney worked in the Montgomery public school system for over two years.

&#8220It's certainly flattering,” said Looney. &#8220But I'm very content in Butler County. My work here has just started. I took this job with the intentions of being a part of Butler County. I'm proud of our employees for what we've accomplished but we still have work to do.”

Under Looney's leadership, Butler County schools have made a significant leap forward in academics. Five county schools made AYP this year, up from just two a year ago, and Greenville High School and Georgiana High School met all academic goals for the first time in over six years.

The Board awarded Looney with a three percent pay raise to his $102,000 annual salary on Thursday night.

Purcell earned $155,000 per year as superintendent in Montgomery.

&#8220Money doesn't motivate me. This, here tonight, motivates me,” said Looney, referring to ceremony during the meeting that recognized Johnetta Blake, a former dropout who recently graduated from the school system's new Second Chance Program. &#8220As long as I have enough to pay the bills and take care of my family, I'm fine.”

Looney said he didn't see himself returning to Montgomery.

&#8220I worked in Montgomery for over two years and we accomplished some good things,” he said. &#8220The Board decided to do a search for superintendent candidate while I was there and they selected one. With the situation now, I wish them God speed and good luck. I hope they will pull together for the boys and girls of Montgomery.”