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Bangor School Board to make final decision on superintendent next week

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BANGOR, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Bangor School Board has a big decision to make in the coming weeks: who will be the next superintendent?

The decision comes after a tumultuous school year marked in scandal and outrage.

Newschannel 3 investigative reporter Walter Smith-Randolph has been following the developments every step of the way, and joined us Tuesday, with a look at what's next.

Only two internal candidates have applied for the superintendent job in Bangor: Dennis Paquette wants his old job back after he was forced to step down once the I-Team discovered he was unqualified. Now, he's going up against another school administrator.

It's a tough decision for a school district trying to recover from a rocky year.

This past school year was full of controversy for the Bangor school district.

The I-Team revealed superintendent Dennis Paquette plagiarized articles in a newsletter. Then, he stepped down when the I-Team discovered he didn't hold state-mandated credentials.

The boiling point for Bangor was when two teachers and a secretary resigned after video surfaced of staff members talking about students at a local bar.

Now, the school board is trying to recover by picking a new superintendent.

The position was only advertised internally.

"I was kind of hoping that they would also seek outside the district and give more people the opportunity to be able to apply for the job," said community member A.C. Fisher-Aldag.

The two candidates made their case last night.

"I think three-and-a-half to four years ago, I knew everything there was to know about being a superintendent. That's the number one thing I learned; I didn't know much about it as I thought," Paquette said.

Current elementary school principal Karen Bitzer says Bangor needs better communication.

"I think being open and honest about communication is what Bangor needs right now. Everybody hears what the truth is, and we all get on the same page and we need to move forward," she said.

Moving forward, the district must have a qualified superintendent by August 1.

Paquette won't have the necessary state-mandated qualifications to lead the district until mid-August.

The Michigan Department of Education tells the I-Team, if school board members hire someone without the proper certifications, they will be fined and charged with a misdemeanor.

"I'm hoping the school board picks the candidate they feel is best for the position," Fisher-Aldag said.

We just heard back from the school board president, who says the district will not open up the job to outside candidates.

A final decision will be made at a school board meeting next Monday.

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