Lawrence County School Superintendent Heath Grimes takes Russellville job

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Heath Grimes accepted the job as Russellville City Schools Superintendent Monday, leaving the same position in Lawrence County.

This comes just a few weeks after a failed property tax hike vote in Lawrence County. The money would have gone to the school system. Throughout the campaign there was debate about whether school leaders were using money wisely.

It was hard to miss the joy on Lawrence County School Superintendent Heath Grimes face as he accepted the superintendent’s job in Russellville. The vote to hire him was unanimous, and with his family present, the decision to accept the offer was also unanimous. Grimes takes over the smaller system with four schools on June first.

“This is what’s best for me and my family,” Grimes explained to WHNT News 19 following the specially called school board meeting.

Two members of the Russellville School Board confirmed they had received calls from Lawrence County residents cautioning them not to hire Grimes.

“Well we just had to go on the facts and the facts stood out and that’s how we made our decision,” according to Russellville School Board President Greg Batchelor.

When asked about the environment he would be leaving behind, Grimes responded, “Well there’s a lot of great people there and they’ve been really good to me. You know, there’s always some in any situation but I try not to let a few color everyone.”

And so with Grimes’ departure, the Lawrence County School Board is not only faced with trying to find enough money to keep schools and programs operational. Now they have to find a new superintendent.

A spokesperson for the Lawrence County board says they have 90 days to appoint someone to fulfill the remainder of Grimes’ term, which ends in November of next year. Grimes stressed he had applied for the Russellville position long before the April 28th tax vote in Lawrence County which would have replaced approximately $2 million in funding the system lost when the county’s largest employer, International Paper, shut down a year ago.

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