HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree is speaking publicly about the resignation of school superintendent James Bacchus for the first time.
Bacchus resigned last week, saying he could no longer lead the district because of financial issues, which include a budget deficit.
Hattiesburg Public School District School Board members have not commented to WDAM about the budget situation, pending results of an audit.
Teresa Poole has been appointed interim superintendent.
On Tuesday during a ribbon-cutting for a new sidewalk project in west Hattiesburg, Dupree expressed his confidence in Poole and said educating students would remain the school district's top priority.
"I believe our school system is in good hands," Dupree said. "There's an interim superintendent that certainly, is going to take care of the academic side of it. They've brought back a financial officer who is taking care of the finances of the district who has a lot of experience doing that. The Board of Trustees are on top of it (and) I want to assure the citizens here that your children are going to be educated and they're going to be safe. That's what this is really all about."
The Mississippi Department of Education is doing research to determine if it should take any action.