Fayette BoE votes 4-1 on Bearden’s ‘mutual termination’ agreement

UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 20, 6:40 p.m. — A press release just issued by the Fayette County School System has shed no light on the reason or reasons for the "mutual termination agreement" between Superintendent Jeff Bearden and the Fayette County Board of Education. The text of the press release is provided below.

The Fayette County Board of Education Wednesday afternoon entered into a "mutual termination agreement" with Superintendent Jeff Bearden that will take effect Jan. 1. There was no discussion on the matter after the school board returned from a three-hour executive session and voted 4-1 on the termination recommendation.

[See "A failure of leadership in the Fayette school system" by clicking here.]

The press release by school system attorney Phillip Hartley and issued late Thursday stated, "At a specially called meeting on September 19, 2012, the Superintendent and Board of Education agreed, in accordance with the terms of the Superintendent’s employment agreement, to a mutual termination of that agreement effective January 1, 2013. The Board of Education expresses its appreciation to Dr. Bearden for his leadership and many initiatives that have improved the School District during his service as Superintendent. Dr. Bearden expresses his thanks and gratitude for the encouragement and most of all the support of the staff, parents, and community. The Superintendent and all Board members are committed to a smooth and productive transition, continuing to address the needs of the School System and providing the best possible education for the students of Fayette County."

Contacted Thursday morning, school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said she expected the press release to be issued before the day was over, adding that the press release would be the only information provided by the school system pertaining to the mutual termination agreement.

At the Wednesday called meeting and after the board returned from executive session, Chairman Leonard Presberg asked if there was any recommended action resulting from executive session. Bearden in presenting the recommendation said, “I recommend the board and superintendent enter into a mutual termination agreement to be effective Jan. 1, 2013, that will include an additional year of compensation and appropriate benefits. The written agreement will be prepared by the school district attorney.”

Asked by Presberg for a motion, board member Janet Smola moved that the board accept the superintendent’s recommendation, followed by board member Bob Todd who seconded the motion. The vote was 4-1, with Smola, Todd and board members Terri Smith and Marion Key voting in favor of the motion and Presberg opposed.

There was no discussion prior to the vote and nothing said after the vote. The meeting ended immediately thereafter.

The school system will be contacted Thursday, Sept. 20, in hopes of receiving additional information relating to the termination agreement.

The called meeting began at 3 p.m. with the school board going immediately into executive session. The board remained in executive session until 6 p.m.

Present at the meeting but not in the school board chambers was school system attorney Phil Hartley.

CORRECTION — Story initially had wrong day of meeting. That has been corrected to "Wednesday."

BobbyBiplane
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Causes

Sorry Pat you are incorrect. The taxpayer, to be read "voters," are the cause.

Bob

patkebb
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Bearden the bandit

Wow, Bearden is quite the leader. The kind of leader that slashed employee pay and benefits and then leaves with $200,000 in his pocket for NOT working.

He claims he is concerned about students. Seems Bearden just likes Bearden. He says one thing, does another.

How can anyone with a conscience take that money and leave? I hear he ASKED for the deal. Now he and his friends portray him as the victim. We taxpayers are the victim - we have been robbed.

BobbyBiplane
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No Leadership

The Fayette County BOE is a embarrassment and joke created by Fayette County citizens by their own votes. We are rapidly heading down the path of Clayton County by our faith in current test scores, kick the can down the road mentality and failure to elect even minimally qualified Board members. We deserve everything we have gotten.

Bob

Just wondering
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I remember

Never got over being asked to work during his 1st winter break while he went on vacation!
Kinda says something about the kind of leader he is.

patkebb
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Bearden the bandit

moved to top

Davids mom
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This fiasco

will hurt an already bad housing situation in Fayette County. One of our perks is our school system. Clayton, Dekalb, etc. are having the same type of disfunctional activity from their BOE's. I hope our teachers don't leave - they are too important to our county. Let's elect new BOE members who have the interest of our children at heart - and not the politics of staying in office!! What qualified Superintendent would want to come and work for this Board?

Need2know
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The good ole boys at it again

Bearden may have not had a good plan, the FCBOE definitely doesn't have a plan. It's the blind leading the blind. Tough decisions need to be made and know one wants to take the lead to make those decsions. As soon as they do, you all we get on this site and bitch about how this affected you personal.

Close Tyrone and Fayette Elem, send some of the kids to Flat Creek, and the rest to Rivers. Start with that and adjust as we go forward. Don't cut any teachers pay, remove some assistance principles and administrators at the top. How many assit supers do we have? need? Start with Sam Sweat - do we really need someone making over $120K handling transportation...NO!

Fayette County 268
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Fayette Elem? Flat Creek? Sam Sweat & Transportation?
Need2know wrote:

Bearden may have not had a good plan, the FCBOE definitely doesn't have a plan. It's the blind leading the blind. Tough decisions need to be made and know one wants to take the lead to make those decsions. As soon as they do, you all we get on this site and bitch about how this affected you personal.

Close Tyrone and Fayette Elem, send some of the kids to Flat Creek, and the rest to Rivers. Start with that and adjust as we go forward. Don't cut any teachers pay, remove some assistance principles and administrators at the top. How many assit supers do we have? need? Start with Sam Sweat - do we really need someone making over $120K handling transportation...NO!

I know where Tyrone Elementary is... but where is Flat Creek School? Sam Sweat handles transportation? That is news to me... last I heard on the county radio this morning, It was Michael Jennings heading up the transportation dept. For the 2nd year, Mr. Jennings along with our new receptionist, Julie, was manning the radio and holding down the home fort while the supervisors were driving routes that needed to be covered.With transportation suffering still from a severe shortage of drivers, all office personnel who possess a class B license with PS endorsements have been required to do the job they were hired to do in addition to driving routes on a regular basis - and for no pay! They do receive 'comp time'... but seriously? how much comp time can a supervisor realistically take? School Bus Drivers in Fayette County are the lowest paid bus drivers in the Atlanta area - maybe in the State! It is of my opinion that few people experienced & qualified to head up our transportation department would be willing to work the 11-12 hour days that has been required from the directer & supervisors these past 2 years, regardless of the pay. With both the Directer and the Supervisors being required to perform the duties of at least 2 positions... and get paid real money for just 1 position... Geeeze Criminey! No wonder we are so short of drivers!

Please - know your facts and your schools before offering a solution to the serious & complex issues we are currently facing.

g8trgrl
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Fayette County 268

Read Need2know's comments again - they obviously do not even have a high school education. They don't know how to spell principal or assistant. Very sad. How they knew how to sign up to blog is a miracle.....They are clueless about the names of the schools in the county too!

heatjam
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Flat Creek?
Fayette County 268 wrote:
Need2know wrote:

Bearden may have not had a good plan, the FCBOE definitely doesn't have a plan. It's the blind leading the blind. Tough decisions need to be made and know one wants to take the lead to make those decsions. As soon as they do, you all we get on this site and bitch about how this affected you personal.

Close Tyrone and Fayette Elem, send some of the kids to Flat Creek, and the rest to Rivers. Start with that and adjust as we go forward. Don't cut any teachers pay, remove some assistance principles and administrators at the top. How many assit supers do we have? need? Start with Sam Sweat - do we really need someone making over $120K handling transportation...NO!

I know where Tyrone Elementary is... but where is Flat Creek School? Sam Sweat handles transportation? That is news to me... last I heard on the county radio this morning, It was Michael Jennings heading up the transportation dept. For the 2nd year, Mr. Jennings along with our new receptionist, Julie, was manning the radio and holding down the home fort while the supervisors were driving routes that needed to be covered.With transportation suffering still from a severe shortage of drivers, all office personnel who possess a class B license with PS endorsements have been required to do the job they were hired to do in addition to driving routes on a regular basis - and for no pay! They do receive 'comp time'... but seriously? how much comp time can a supervisor realistically take? School Bus Drivers in Fayette County are the lowest paid bus drivers in the Atlanta area - maybe in the State! It is of my opinion that few people experienced & qualified to head up our transportation department would be willing to work the 11-12 hour days that has been required from the directer & supervisors these past 2 years, regardless of the pay. With both the Directer and the Supervisors being required to perform the duties of at least 2 positions... and get paid real money for just 1 position... Geeeze Criminey! No wonder we are so short of drivers!

Please - know your facts and your schools before offering a solution to the serious & complex issues we are currently facing.

There is no Flat Creek School in Fayette Cty..Flat Rock Middle is by Sandy Creek

readerrabbit
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really?

Let's face it- Fayette County is in a mess & has been long before Bearden. The real problem is and has been our BOE. Dr. Todd needs to Go! He's nothing but a loud voice & a pot stirrer. Change the BOE & our county will be on track for recovery from our financial crisis. My advice to FCBOE teachers- get out now while you can. The future holds more salary & benefit cuts and more! There are other counties that offer higher salaries & pay for healthcare.

chopper
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Leaving

We are leaving..I promise...

skittles44
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Leaving as well

Started filling out applications for surrounding counties and have tossed around the idea of relocating. Enough is enough. The writing on the wall is clear: We are in dire financial shape and things are only getting worse. I really do love the school system, but at some point you have to make decisions that are best for the family and continuing to live with the constant fear of more pay/benefit cuts is taxing.
The poor state of our BOE is causing lots of good teachers to escape to other counties.
I do wish Fayette county the best and I do appreciate the opportunity to work here, but I can't take the inept BOE and central office making decisions that consistently hurt teachers and students.

readerrabbit
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leaving......really?

Good decision.....we just did a few months ago....we weren't the first and won't be the last.

garfield47
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Wake up!

What has been done here is a shame! Dr Bearden was trying to get this school system where it should be and faced nothing but neagative, negative, negative from the board. Smith, Smola, Keys, and Todd need to be voted out. They have done so much damage to this school system already and I truly don't know why this county puts up with them.

As far as pay cuts and days off, all school employees were affected by this, so the teachers can stop thinking they are the only ones.

I shutter to think what we will get in place of Dr Bearden. This board has sent a load and clear message to any one who wants to apply for the position that if they are not going to agree with them, they will do the same to them as they did to Bearden. So plan on getting the bottom of the barred for a replacement superintendant.

Wake up voiting Fayette County citizens and get rid of this board before we are like Clayton County Schools. We are heading there right now!

RT Tugger
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Merry Christmas, Dr. Bearden

Wow. So at one of the most critical times in this school district’s history, when we’re faced with a $20 million deficit, we have zero leadership on the Board and a lame duck superintendent. Nothing will get done until the next super steps in, which will be halfway through the school year. This has got to be one of the most dysfunctional school boards in the state of Georgia. I’m surprised this board hasn’t attracted the attention of the state DOE for its inability to function. The ineptness and discord on display at the BOE meetings is pathetic, and I’m tired of hearing about school administrators who are aware of mismanagement at the county level but won’t speak up about it. This top-heavy county administration has been a financial drain for years, and Dr. Bearden has not moved to correct it (I don’t consider the measly $100,000 savings from job consolidations announced on Monday enough to warrant any praise). Plus, he waited a year and half to even form a committee on how to reduce costs/increase revenues when we had a serious budget shortfall from the day he took the job. I shudder to think this board is now going to select another superintendent. Please tell me we are not going to watch one of our current county administrators step into Dr. Bearden’s shoes. Bearden should be ashamed to take this fat termination package from Fayette County taxpayers. Wonder if we’ll ever get “the rest of the story”?

Spyglass
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What did his Contract say

regarding seperation, resignation, etc.

That is what you have to go by.

bladderq
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New Super

I see the old one coming back as an interim. You know the 1 that oversaw all this mess for years. He ought to know how to untangle this mess.

wkamb
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Dr. Bearden's recipe for free money

I think I will try Dr. Bearden's recipe. Let's see - over the next 18 months, I will make sure my performance is mediocre or poor. I will delay difficult decisions (like closing schools), but will make the easy ones (like drastically reducing employee pay and benefits). I will care nothing about morale of most of those I lead (after all, peons don't matter). I will protect my fellow managers in return for their promises to praise my great skills.

I will spend much time promoting myself by telling everyone what a great administrator I am. I will speak at community meetings describing my many talents, but all the while avoid seeking input from employees. Then after nearly bankrupting my company, I will complain to my bosses. "Hey, you guys must not like me because you won't do what I say you must do. Can you pay me for the next 15 months? I will spend 3 months continuing to destroy the company (while I portray myself aa a victim) and then I'll take the next 12 months off." Deal?

Quite a recipe. I just hope my bosses are as dumb as the 5 morons who sit in the chairs at the board of education. Hope my bosses don't mind squandering the money that belongs to the stockholders in my company. After all, why should they be concerned about a mere $200,000 in salary/benefits? It worked for Bearden, hope I can get the same response.

sfca
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Wkamb - 18 Months ? this is

Wkamb - 18 Months ? this is 2012 -
Jan 2013 - Think that is only 3 months but I might be wrong. - go back to school

NUK_1
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sfca: Reading comprehension

Bearden has been on the job for 18 months. How is that confusing to you? Before you tell someone else to "go back to school," maybe try and keep up with a really simple blog. Obviously the poster is talking about what Bearden was thinking when he accepted the job.

He's working the next 3 months before quitting and will be getting paid a year's severance starting on Jan 1st, so 15 more months of paying this bozo.

driftwood
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what about girlfriend/wife?

What about his girlfriend/wife? Will be interesting to see what she ends up doing. I mean she walked right in and got a job without a hitch. Maybe they are heading back to Maine.

Just Saying
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Leadership Vacuum

Now that Bearden is gone, that giant sucking sound you hear is the leadership vacuum at the BOE. No telling what this lame duck board will try to do between now and January.

patkebb
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Good riddance to Bearden

The truth about Fayette County Schools - Jeff Bearden is a spineless, self-serving bureaucrat. Furthermore, the school board has 5 petty, vindictive, egocentric members.

For the past 18 months, Dr. Bearden has done little to handle the financial problems. We should have closed schools THIS school year (Fayette Intermediate, Hood Avenue, Fayette Middle, Tyrone and Brooks), but he delayed. Now his proposals fall far short. He kowtows to the Brooks and Tyrone crowd and refuses to endorse the logical (close underenrolled schools - including Tyrone with its septic problems and Brooks with its 250 students).

Rumor is HE asked for this deal. He must have realized his incompetence was about to become more obvious as we approach a $20 million shortfall for next year.

He has been busy protecting his buddies at the bloated county office while gleefully slashing employee pay and cutting benefits. He cares nothing about the rank-and-file (teachers, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, etc).

His departure is good news. The fact that he is robbing the taxpayers (with the blessing of the idiots on the school board) is criminal.

We will be free of Smola and Smith in January. If Todd, Key, and Presburg had a conscience and even an ounce of integrity, they would all resign.

flwrgrl
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Dr Bearden

Maureen Downey at the AJC has picked up on this story. http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog.

ElVee
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A viable candidate

The former superintendent of Clayton County seems to be available. I mean, if we're going to follow Clayton County's path to the bottom, let's do it right.

Just wondering
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So they're cutting my pay and

So they're cutting my pay and benefits but they'll pay him to leave?! Go figure!

NUK_1
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Glad they extended Bearden's contract!
Ben Nelms wrote:

“I recommend the board and superintendent enter into a mutual termination agreement to be effective Jan. 1, 2013, that will include an additional year of compensation and appropriate benefits. The written agreement will be prepared by the school district attorney.”

So he gets a year of pay after he leaves on January 1st and this same group extended his contract a couple of months ago. What the hell is going on here?

PTC Observer
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NUK_1 - Speculation

My guess is that he presented a plan to the board, said that if they didn't support the plan, then he would go public on them. Didn't he already do that?

When you don't have your board's support, you can't do much. They give you the job, then tie your hands but expect results. We have a BOE that has no guts. Then again, politicians are not known for their courage.

NUK_1
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PTCO: Tough to say

Going after Todd and Key publicly wasn't brilliant at all, but Smith and Smola voted to make this agreement suddenly after they were advocating to extend his contract to make sure he was still around to go through this hell, so I wonder if something else has happened we haven't heard yet.

Bearden knew before accepting the job what kind of poor financial shape the BOE was in. He pretty much blew it off for a year and now it's all urgent and the cuts will be harsh. He was far too slow to start the whole cutting and closing process IMO. Extending his contract a couple of months ago was just stupid and now the BOE can add on another 150K(or more) to the anticipated deficit.

I highly doubt he had any kind of plan formulated when he decided to throw it to the committee approach and just threw out some vague "what if" savings before forming these groups.

PTC Observer
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Rodger that NUK_1
NUK_1 wrote:

Extending his contract a couple of months ago was just stupid and now the BOE can add on another 150K(or more) to the anticipated deficit.

Really stupid

rolling stone
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PTC Observer - more speculating....

He may have decided that he could not afford to have his resume take the hit from the rapidly approaching disaster. That heat, together with global warming, may have made the cool cool north look good again.

moelarrycurly
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Speculation PTCO

Sounds right to me. He knows what he wants to do, board doesn't agree, he says support me or I walk with my free one year vacation money. Pressberg is p.o.'d and votes no, because board is causing this and he knows the county will be out a huge amount of money for Bearden's contract money. So, he votes no.

skittles44
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Writing

Do you think he saw the writing on the wall and had a perspective on where this district is heading?

PTC Observer
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BOE - Your

incompetence is showing.

The BOE must get a grip, we have to downsize the school system, Dr. Bearden had a plan, what's yours?

Given this dysfunctional board, I can't imagine what Dr. Bearden's replacement might be like.

tonto707
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If

We had an elected superintendent these issues would already be behind us.Referendum to appoint superintendents failed in Fayette County but passed statewide and we were screwed.

PTC Observer
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patkebb - Yes

he had a plan, I didn't say it was a perfect plan but at least he had one. There was an opportunity for the citizens to comment on his plan, the board had some input into the plan, so I ask again......what's the plan now? Does the BOE have one?

patkebb, when you are downsizing a school system people are going to get hurt, that's a reality. Get a grip on it.

If you are looking for someone to blame in this fiasco, then look no further than the people that hired Dr. Bearden, the people that extended his contract, the people that terminated him with pay and the people that have no plan. God knows who these people will get to work for them now, I can tell you they would have to be deaf, blind and dumb to accept a job with this board. Talk about pay? You guessed it the next person will leverage this "situation" at the BOE to our determent. Dr. Bearden's replacement will be a piece of work.

patkebb
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Bearden's incompetence

Bearden had a plan???? You call slashing pay and benefits while protecting the bureaucrats at county office a plan? You call postponing hard choices and then taking a "golden parachute" out of the county a plan?

He had no concern for teachers or other employees. He will NOT be missed. If he had any integrity, he would not take the huge sum of money he is being offered at the time the school system is nearly bankrupt.

fc1989
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Ben, today is Wednesday.

I guess this means no schools will close next year.

G35 Dude
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What is going on?

Didn't this same board just vote 5-0 to extend Bearden's contract?

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