The APS cheating scandal took a toll in suburban Dallas last night after a school board that recently hired former Atlanta deputy superintendent Kathy Augustine met with her behind closed doors for nearly six hours. After the session, the board of the 9,000-student DeSoto school district.placed Augustine on indefinite paid leave effective immediately.
Board members and Augustine, who started her first day Monday, refused to answer questions after the meeting and quickly left the room after she read a lengthy prepared statement.
“It was a mutual decision for the best interest of DeSoto ISD children,” said board president Warren Seay, who added that Augustine would stay on paid leave “until the process worked itself out.”
In an emailed statement after the meeting, Seay wrote, “”We are working to resolve the issues related to Dr. Augustine in a prudent manner that represents the best interests of DeSoto ISD school children. To that end, we anticipate a swift resolution.”
Augustine declined to answer questions after the meeting about why she agreed to go on paid leave. She said, “The answer to your questions are in the statement.”
After the meeting, trustee Sandra Wheeler, who voted against hiring Augustine in May, said, “I want us to move forward and do what’s best for the kids.”
When asked how she felt about the decision, she said, “It’s hard to say.”
Augustine entered DeSoto on her first day amid growing opposition over what she might have known about cheating on state tests in Georgia. She was greeted Monday night by protesters outside district headquarters calling for her to resign. Nearly 75 people filled a cramped DeSoto school board meeting to hear whether Augustine would remain in charge.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog