HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Superintendent James Bacchus has resigned from the Hattiesburg Public School District effective immediately Tuesday, according to HPSD communications director Jas N. Smith and the Hattiesburg school board .
"Today is his last day," Smith said.
Marcus Cathey, president of the Hattiesburg Public Schools Board of Trustees, said "Mr. Bacchus has submitted his resignation as superintendent of the Hattiesburg Public School District. The board accepted his resignation, and we are now taking steps to move the district forward."
In his letter, Bacchus said his last day with the district is Dec. 18, 2015. Cathey explained that while he is contractually employed by the district until then, Tuesday was his last day of work for the district.
"My wife and I will be here in the community," Bacchus said during his resignation announcement to the central office staff. "We love Hattiesburg. Our work will always be for the best of Hattiesburg Public School district and more importantly, the children and families that are here."
Bacchus made the following statement about the school district's financial status in his resignation letter:
This decision comes just one month after Seven On Your Side investigated questionable spending by The Hattiesburg Public School District.
When asked if the district's financial standing played a role in Bacchus' decision, Cathey said the board is waiting to comment until it receives an annual audit.
"In the near future, I'm told in about three weeks, that an official audit report will be released," Cathey said. "We're going to wait until that time to officially address the finances of the district."
Teresa Poole, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, will step in as superintendent immediately, according to the school board's response to Bacchus' resignation letter.
As for a new full-time superintendent, the board made the following statement:
The HPSD Board's response letter: