BROOKESMITH — Guy Birdwell has resigned as superintendent of the Brookesmith school district, and school board members hope to have in interim superintendent in place soon.
     Birdwell, reached by phone Thursday morning, said he and school board members "mutually agreed to go our separate ways" during a regularly scheduled school board meeting late Wednesday night.  The board meeting followed a sometimes contentious community meeting to discuss whether the district will be able to have school next year as it battles reduced enrollment and financial shortfalls.
    “We just mutually agreed I would pursue other opportunities," Birdwell said, declining to elaborate. "We mutually agreed at the meeting."
    School board president Terry Been confirmed the decision was mutual but offered little additional comment. Been did say there was no plan for Birdwell’s resignation when the board meeting began.
    “That was not a plan at the time,” Been said. “We didn’t go in there to take action like that.”
    Been declined to say who first brought up the idea or what led to it.
    Been reiterated Thursday that it’s too soon to know if the district will be able to open next year. “We’re all working on a possible direction to try to find a solution to keep the school open,” Been said.
    “I’m optimistic, yes.”
     The district has the funds the continue operating through the end of the school year, but the 2017-'18 school year is a question, Birdwell and board members said at the community meeting. The district has also looked at the possibility of consolidating with another district, Birdwell said.
    The district has about 140 students — about 35 fewer than last year and resulting in $350,000 reduction in state funding, Birdwell said.
    The district eliminated four positions this year: principal, counselor and two teachers, Bean said.