School chief: Job not created for Maine teacher friend

Fayette County School System Superintendent Jeff Bearden, fresh from Maine, has been on the job less than a month. And Bearden last week responded to several questions posed to him by The Citizen, including a query about a new female teacher from his home state of Maine who was approved for hire in December by the school board. Bearden was insistent that the teaching position was not created for this individual,

adding that she applied and went through the application process.

“A school system this size does have allotments that happen during the course of the year based on enrollment. We live in a very transient society. We have kids that enroll in our schools all the time,” Bearden said. “When I applied for the job I was very clear with the board about my situation. They knew that she was a certified, experienced teacher. The only question I asked at that time was that if there was a job that opened up that she was eligible for could she apply. And the answer was ‘yes.’”

“I found out about this allotment before I arrived (in January). She applied for the job, she interviewed for the job, she was recommended for the job and she was hired. She doesn’t need my help getting a job. She’s a very strong, experienced teacher that will be good for the school system. So there were no promises, no guarantees, no creating (a position),” Bearden said. He added that the woman, prior to the hire, had already intended to move here to continue her career if a position came open.

It has long been customary across the national public school landscape that new, high-level school system administrators are sometimes followed by family members, senior staff and others that have established professional or personal relationships with the administrator.

Bearden was also asked to respond to the sporadic but consistent delays in the release of documentation on the school system website, sometimes only hours before school board meetings, because the issue is one that pertains to school system accountability with taxpayers, parents, school system employees and the school board.

“I’ve heard that before. And it’s really too early for me to define why that has been the way it’s been. I, too, want to get information to the board and to the public in a timely manner,” Bearden said. “I think that’s something we might very well discuss at the retreat (Jan. 29), when the board might be interested in having information submitted to them. I’m aware that this has been a concern in this community. It is something we are looking at, absolutely, and we’ll probably talk about in more detail on the 29th. We really don’t have an agenda per se other than what the GSBS (Georgia School Boards Association facilitator) will have. But one of the things I would like to do is give some time for board members to talk about whatever they want, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s something we discuss.”

The board changed its decades-long policy in January 2010 by moving the meeting nights from Mondays to Tuesdays, with the primary reason being that posting the agenda and supporting documentation on Monday mornings would give school system employees and the public two full business days to review the items for the Tuesday night meetings rather than having only one day if the meetings were to continue to be held on Mondays.

The vote on the issue at that time was 3-2, with then-Chairman Terri Smith and board members Janet Smola and Lee Wright voting to move the meeting day to Tuesdays. Board members Marion Key and Bob Todd voted to keep the Monday meeting schedule.

Prior to the vote, Todd suggested that the school system staff responsible for submitting supporting documentation could do so a day early (on the prior Thursday) with the documentation posted on Fridays so that the those items could be viewed over the weekend and on Mondays prior to the Monday night meetings. Additionally, Wright and Key said that they did not always receive the information for some meetings until they arrived on the night of board meetings.

But the change in meeting days from Mondays to Tuesdays often failed to bring a more timely release of data, with the agenda and, especially the supporting documentation, sometimes not being posted on the school system’s website until mid- or late Mondays and, at other times, until sometime on Tuesdays.

Of 11 school districts in metro Atlanta surveyed by The Citizen in March 2010, Fayette County ranked at the bottom in terms of the number of days required for staff to submit data for school board meetings prior to those meetings and for the number of days prior to school board meetings that the agenda and supporting documentation was posted online.

The board retreat is a public meeting and will be held on Saturday, Jan. 29 at the school system office in Fayetteville beginning at 8:30 a.m.

NUK_1
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School chief

Give the guy a chance before he gets the "Fayette County Treatment" of rage and anger along with BS from howling whiners and a newspaper story that is heavily slanted.

Bearden may be the best or might be the worst in the world, but he's been on the job 3 weeks and already it's hysteria over NOTHING. Let's see what he does/doesn't do over a little bit lengthier time frame.

As far as his girlfriend being hired as a teacher.....non-issue. Pro sports' franchises that are humongous businesses hire head coaches that suddenly populate their assistant coaching positions with lifetime friends and sometimes family members. Get over it. Everything seems to have been done very above-board and through the process correctly. Cynicism on everything is as bad as foolishly being naive.

SPQR
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Whew

I'm just glad it's a girl.

Chris P. Bacon
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I predict...

I predict we'll see at least one dyspeptic letter to the editor in the next week or so bemoanin' the fact that our school superintendent is living in sin with a woman without benefit of clergy and oh what sort of examples does this set for our precious children no wonder why teen pregnancies are so high and abortion-as-birth-control is so prevalent in this country and it's all because we elected a president who was born in Kenya who has nothing but contempt for small businesses and actively hates the military because that what he was taught by his mentor William Ayers who was in the Weather Underground in the 1960s which was when this country first started going to hell in a handbasket and we were fortunate to elect a great man in Ronald Reagan who single-handedly tore down the Berlin Wall and defeated Communism or as it's known nowadays as "Progressivism" which is another way of saying evil walks the land and its all the fault of Godless Democrats who have no respect for Fayette country conservative traditions such as respecting teh sanctity of marriage which our new school superintendent obviously doesn't respect as he is living in sin with a woman...

Whew...I was channelling mah inner-Trey Hoffman there for a moment!

roundabout
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bacon

I don't blame this lady nor the new super they made it very cear about everything and were hired I have never understood why they hired this feller anyway especially with known fayette sins on his back unless it was due to the fact that he would work for less money two for one you no or that the secret list that they hire from only just didn't have anybody better on it personally I hink that there list of school administrators is bogus and never puts anythong bad about any of them on the list and maybe we should hire from a broader availablilt
It may be that he is a quaker and won't have to take her to the baptist church anyway that would solve that problem but if he don't go to church then he will be out for sure it is quite possible that she is the brains behind this man and we wouldn't have anything without her he did say thee might be others from Maine who might want to come here and help us.
Aint we all going to be ashamed when we fins out his previous wife wanted rid of him for no reason that his kids hated him and that he and this lady are just friends and cohorts?

suggarfoot
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you said it

I'm sure they will form a committee to put a Scarlett A on her forehead.

I think we should give the new super a chance. I think everyone is of that opinion.

The 3 amigos power is gone.. they just gonna have to face it. Besides, they need to not start people turning over rocks. There might be a lot ouzzz out.

PTC Observer
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Bacon - could it be

Could it be that we agree on this one?

What's the big deal anyway?

roundabout
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PTC Obwerver

What does Epps say about it?

Nothing, I assure you.

Chris P. Bacon
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Raking the new supt. over the coals...
Ben Nelms wrote:

... new female teacher from his home state of Maine ... Bearden said. “When I applied for the job I was very clear with the board about my situation. ...
It has long been customary across the national public school landscape that new, high-level school system administrators are sometimes followed by ...others that have established .... personal relationships with the administrator.

Bearden was also asked to respond to the sporadic but consistent delays in the release of documentation on the school system website...

1. What in the name of God and all his little chickens is the Superintendent's "situation"?

2. "sporadic but consistent"? *groan*

Nelms had literally years to hold former Superintendent Decotis' feet to the fire regarding agenda delays but never seemed to make an issue of it. Now that the new guy has been on the job for less than three weeks, Nelms wants answers, dammit, and he wants them NOW! *rolleyes*

Brooks Parent
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Come On

Let's not sugar coat it!! It's his girlfriend who lives with him.
How did she jump to the top of the qualified applicant pool that is a mile long?? Seems like business as usual.

Robert W. Morgan
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Live-in girlfriend?

If that is actually true, it appears both Bearden and Nelms went to great lengths not to say it. Why is that? Seems to me that common sense would prevent her from applying in Fayette County. It wasn't too long ago that I ran across a Fayette County principal or administrator's wife who was actually teaching in another county (DeKalb, I think) just to avoid the appearance of favoritism. Can't remember who it was, but it was no more than 2 years ago.

Of course standards are slipping everywhere, so why not here?

Next we will have some right-winger thumping a bible saying Bearden should not have been hired because of his "situation" - who talks like that anyway? I guess the school board was too busy worring about Smola's Monday night job - whatever that is - to pay attention to something like this.

Chris P. Bacon
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"Hard or soft option, Bearden"?
Robert W. Morgan wrote:

If that is actually true, it appears both Bearden and Nelms went to great lengths not to say it. Why is that? Seems to me that common sense would prevent her from applying in Fayette County.

Of course standards are slipping everywhere, so why not here?

Next we will have some right-winger thumping a bible saying Bearden should not have been hired because of his "situation" - who talks like that anyway? I guess the school board was too busy worring about Smola's Monday night job - whatever that is - to pay attention to something like this.

My spider sense is tinglin'....I'm wondering exactly who brought this issue up in the first place. Nelms doesn't have much of a history of digging very deeply into school board business, I'm thinking someone with an axe to grind spoon-fed this to Ben. Ben's more of a stenographer than a reporter when it comes to the school board.

Gee, I wonder who would benefit from a politically weakened school superintendent who has been on the job for less than a month?

Or is this a warning shot fired across the bow by some unnamed school board member? "Hard or soft option, Bearden, you going to play ball or not?"

fay79isus wrote:

After all, Sheriff Wayne Hannah set the standard----- hire your wife, promote, let her wreck cars. That's cool.

Okay, I laughed out loud reading this...

suggarfoot
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Bacon

I think we all know who is trying to still hold on to power by any means.

The deal is, we have someone with less qualifications, experience,seniority, etc being paid as a teacher for Fayette county now a year or two.

People who live in glass houses......shouldn't be writing graffiti on the windows... about others.

fay79isus
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Bearden's girlfriend is ok

After all, Sheriff Wayne Hannah set the standard----- hire your wife, promote, let her wreck cars. That's cool.

What's wrong with Jeff having a qualified applicant take a job here whose his girlfriend? Even if she is?

JohnnyBGood
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This should be very easy to verify.

Any reporter worth his/her salt can check this information out quite easily.

Was the position advertised as required? Show us where and for how long.
Who was on the interview committee? Name them.
Who created this opening and how?
Who else applied and was interviewed?
Was this a one opening, one applicant, no one else applied ruse?
What happened to the previously proclaimed "hiring freeze"?
Is the school she was hired at increasing in student population?
What school is it that is getting bigger while the overall county population decreases?

The cover up is always so much worse than the crime. I hope for the sake of the new Superintendent and good people of Fayette County this new man is honest and capable. I feel certain we will see sooner rather than later (I'm afraid).

AtHomeGym
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Teacher Hiring & Supt Relationship

All I see in this string is guesswork and some sort of sideways effort to impugn the integrity of Supt Bearden. If anyone was really serious and smart they could do all the research and put out some facts, but no, let's just toss out some assertions & innuendos and throw some mud. Pretty sad in my way of thinking.

roundabout
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GYM

I think this started with someone in Maine sending word that the Super had more families and children in Maine who weren't coming with him. I doubt anyone does know if they are "living together" or are just good friends, and one hires qualified good friends.

Heck, hundreds of our kids at Georgia colleges live with someone off and on campus at 19-20 years of age with no prayer of being able to support them! At least the two salaries of these 2 Maine people will put them into society---which is really all that is required.

On top of that (now don't get me wrong) about 20% of Fayette "families" aren't married, and I'm not even including some heritages who don't usually get married.

The board wanted them---let us vote for the board as we see fit!

g8trgrl
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superintendent girlfriend

Wonder what school she got the job at? Anyone know? Just curious...

roundabout
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What school?

What difference could that make? She works for the BOE!

NUK_1
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Uh-oh, Bonkers actually nails it

She doesn't work for a particular school per se, and, this just in, the schools located in or around PTC are not "Peachtree City schools" but are indeed "Fayette Co schools." Once we enlighten all the ignorant on these basic facts, maybe we can have a reasonable discussion.

Bonkers got it......everyone else should be able to also.

Reverend Martin Luther King: 'Nothing in all the world is more dangerous
than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.'

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