Channel 2 Action News has learned of important new developments in the search for a new DeKalb County Schools superintendent.

Channel 2’s Richard Belcher has exclusively learned that school board members have settled on a candidate, but contract negotiations are tense — and may be stalled — because of the would-be superintendent’s “platinum-plated” demands, according to a source.

Belcher has been talking with his sources for nearly three weeks about the new developments, and now can now confirm that Dr. Lillie Cox, of Hickory, N.C., is the school board’s choice, but the deal is not done.

According to one of Belcher’s sources, the nine-member school board arrived at its decision very quickly after a public meeting on March 31.

But the decision on Cox was not unanimous.

Belcher was told there were six votes for her and three against.

But now, sources told Belcher that negotiations are in trouble because Cox’s demands are extraordinarily high.

Another source told Belcher that Cox wants an ironclad contract, and that her demands may be eroding her support on the board.

Early last year, the DeKalb School Board gave then-superintendent Crawford Lewis a controversial raise, but made it easier to fire him.

When Lewis left, it cost the taxpayers about $95,000. But when the board fired Superintendent Johnny Brown in 2003, he walked away with nearly $400,000.

A source told Belcher that Cox is demanding contract protections even more costly than those that Brown had.

DeKalb schools spokesman Jeff Dickerson declined comment on the search process.