Breaking news out of Fayette County where the Citizen reports that Superintendent Jeff Bearden is leaving his post in January with a year’s salary.
Bearden had run afoul of some board members with his proposal to trim costs and close schools. The school chief’s exit comes after the school board voted unanimously in June to extend his contract to June 30, 2015.
But relations between Bearden and some board members have frayed as the district, like others around the state, experienced fallen revenues and enrollments. As a result, Fayette was grappling with the always emotional issue of whether to close schools and which ones.
The friction over which schools to close spilled into the public arena when Bearden wrote a lengthy and detailed letter to the Fayette Citizen last month in which he stood by his recommendations to close Hood Avenue Primary, Fayette Intermediate and Fayette Middle School. He also recommended utilizing Rivers Elementary as a K-5 school.
I hope the AJC can come back with more details on what led to this drastic action today. (I have sent a note to the board president, but doubt I will hear back tonight.) It is interesting that now both Clayton and Fayette will be in the market for new leaders.
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.
Once having 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 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.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog