Bearden a finalist for Floyd County schools

Superintendent Jeff Bearden in a 2012 file photo.

Completed Floyd application two weeks before his mutual termination agreement in Fayette

It was on Sept. 19 that the Fayette County Board of Education and Superintendent Jeff Bearden entered into a mutual termination agreement that cited Dec. 31 as his last day of employment. But according to documents on the Floyd County School System website, Bearden completed an application and resume for superintendent’s job on Sept. 4, a full two weeks before he and the Fayette school board agreed to the mutual termination. Bearden is listed as one of two finalists in the search to fill the superintendent’s position in Rome.

Bearden on the Floyd County application said, “Floyd County is a very desirable place to live and work. I have had the opportunity to spend time in your community and am very impressed. I have reviewed the information on your website and am appreciative of your desire to advance learning opportunities for your students. Your move to a charter system I believe was the right thing to do in order to give your system the greatest flexibility for creativity and innovation... I am ready for this new challenge in my professional life.”

On his application Bearden said school board Chair Leonard Presberg and Vice Chair Terri Smith were aware of his application submittal. And on his resume, Bearden listed Presberg, Smith and school board member Janet Smola as references.

According to the Rome News-Tribune, Bearden indicated that he was impressed with the financial condition of the Floyd County School System. “Floyd I’m sure has made some really challenging decisions but the fact they have a relatively healthy fund balance tells me it’s been managed pretty well up there,” Bearden said. “So there are a lot of things about the community and school system that makes it a very attractive job.”

The Floyd County Board of Education is is expected to announce the name of the new superintendent on Nov. 5.

The terms of the mutual termination agreement with the Fayette BoE called for Bearden to receive a year’s salary, $153,000, and the funds to pay for health insurance costs for one year.

As for the surprise announcement at the Sept. 19 meeting of the Fayette school board, there has been no mention of the circumstances of the decision that came with a 4-1 vote in which Presberg was opposed.

“(Bearden and all members of the school board) agree not to make any oral or written communication to any person or entity that disparages, is intended to damage the reputation, or has the effect of damaging the reputation of another party. No statements will be made by any party to this agreement, including the individual members of the Board of Education, contrary to the terms of this agreement or the joint press release issued by the parties. All parties specifically agree that as of the date of the agreement, they are aware of no evidence which would required a report to any federal, state or private regulatory agency with regard to the conduct of the other,” the mutual termination agreement said.

americanpatriots
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fc1989 - You missed the context

I was addressing the ridiculous claim that Terri Smith has often made in saying the state has reduced the reimbursement by $75 million over the last five years. Sussberg also repeated that claim in his blog.

Clearly, this is not even remotely correct.

You should also take into account that FCBOE's annual expenses have declined 11% from FY2006 (actual) to FY2013 (budget) - FY2006 was $199 million and FY2013 budget is $177 million.

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Reply to Sussberg's comment re. State QBE payments

The State QBE Allotment Sheets posted online by the Ga Dept of Education are from FY1999 to FY2013 and there has always been a 5% reduction for the local mill "fair share" amount. Every school district in Ga. has 5% deducted from their QBE earnings.

For Terri Smith to claim the state is not paying the full amount earned is totally absurd.

The funding formula was never intended to pay out the full "earned amount." Each school district is expected to pick up 5% in their county property taxes plus an amount called "Amended Formula Adjustment" which is set by the legislature in the annual state budget.

As usual, Smith is absolutely clueless, but that has never stopped her from speaking out about something she knows nothing about.

The only thing that makes any sense is to look at the QBE payments per student. And here are the facts:

FY2006 - $3,820, FY2007 - $4,206, FY2008 - $4,471, FY2009 - $3,976, FY2010 - $3,964, FY2011 - $3,992, FY2012 - $3,810, FY2013 (Budget) - $3,992.

Total funding per student (state, federal and local) have been: $7,698, $8,332, $8,729, $8,523, $8,575, $8,677, $8,144, $7,973; respectively. And, FY2011 includes a one-time $4,350 million stimulus; or $206 per student.

Anyone, including, Terri Smith, can see that the annual QBE payments and the total funding per student payments have remained about the same except for FY2011 when we got a $4,350 million one-time payment.

Fayette County has lost 1,800 students since FY2006. Do the math! We have lost about $7 million in QBE payments and about $14 million in total funding simply because of declining enrollment.

All of the above information is readily available on the fcboe.org website and the Ga Dept of Education's website. It takes a bit of digging, but I saved you the trouble by providing the above summary information.

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americanpatriot on QBE State Funding

AP- This is good information on the QBE but I think your own numbers show the decline.

FY2006 - $3,820, FY2007 - $4,206, FY2008 - $4,471, FY2009 - $3,976, FY2010 - $3,964, FY2011 - $3,992, FY2012 - $3,810, FY2013 (Budget) - $3,992.

The funding in FY 2008 was $4,471 and has been reduce to below $4,000 every year since. That is a 10% reduction that is growing in 2013. When you compare the $4,471 in FY2008 to $3,810 in FY2012 that is a 15% decline. I think 15% in significant.

The amended formula adjustment is shared in all counties, but is nothing but a plug by the GADOE to match (almost) proportionately to all the school districts the amount budgeted by the legislature for education. I believe that the teachers still see increases in the state portion of their salary based on training and experience. That alone would require an increase in the state funding per student for the same group of teachers. There are also increases in the healthcare premiums that have been picked up by the school system. I am not aware if the pension contributions changed over this time. These are increases that are controlled by the state whether they fund them or not. I would contend that via the "amended formula adjustment" (plug), the state is not funding these increases.

I disagree with your interpretation that the state is funding education at the same level. The state is not.

When you look at total funding you can see that while the state funding per student has decreased 15%, the total per student in FY 2012 has declined only 6% (Fy2008 $8,739 to FY2012 $$8,244). What this means is that local funding has actually increased 3% ($4,268 to $4,434).

In summary, state funding has declined (when compared to FY2008 or even FY2007). The question is was the BOE's response in light of declining local revenues responsible? I think it is evident that the answer is no but you must recognize that the state funding side of it has been a factor.

The bottom line however is that the school system spent more than it was bringing in.....and knew it beforehand.

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Ginga1414/Sussberg

I received an email from the same person that Ginga1414 spoke of, but frankly who cares?

Larry: Your statement about Fayette County’s revenue from the state being reduced by $75 million is not even close to the real number. I will send you an email with the correct information and a link to the Georgia Department of Education’s online link so that you can tract the monthly QBE payments.

As you probably know, the legislature sets the state budget at each legislative session and the Department of Education has to adjust their QBE formulas to fit the amount authorized by the legislature. Every school district in the state is affected and they just have to deal with it.

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Fayette Tea Party & School System

Unfortunately I could not attend Tuesday night's meeting on the State of Our Schools, but the power point presentation and, more importantly the outline of their position on the school system on a go forward basis is really outstanding and well laid out.

Anyone who did not attend, should take a look.

Thank you Fayette Issues Tea Party.

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Mr. Sussberg, Addressing Bullying

While I have some very definite thoughts and opinions concerning our current school system and some of the folks who run that system, I try to refrain from commenting here and if I do comment I choose my words very carefully.

There is a reason for that.

Over the past few years, I have received several threatening (nasty) emails from someone who identified themselves as a relative of a powerful person within our school system.

After posting my comment here today, I have received three ugly emails from someone who has been identified to me as the same relative (under a different name) of the school system official.

Two of the emails that came in today were generated by one of the highest public officials in Fayette County. On the heels of those two emails, I received an email from the "brother" of the Fayette public official asking his brother to take him off of his email list.

I consider all of the above "bullying!"

What does that tell you when a person's own brother wants to be removed from the brother's email list?

The third email I received from the school system relative came directly from that person. It didn't come through the county public official.

My assessment of the third email is that it was intended as bait. I'm not biting, and if I receive another "threatening" email from that person, I will report it to the authorities.

Mr. Sussberg, at times you seem to be trying to bring some sense of reasonability to our discussions here. However, in light of our current financial crisis concerning our school system, I hardly think discussing detailed facts that brought us to this situation could be labeled as "bullying" no matter whose toes are stepped upon.

We need to examine the facts and figures of how and who brought us to this point without personal issues.

Personal issues just muddy the water and distract from finding a true solution to our problems. Although that has probably been the whole premise behind the undercurrent bullying that has gone on during the commission campaign and the school system campaign. It seems that some of our current county and school system officials carry on behind the scenes campaigns that are secretly intended to bully concerned citizens into keeping their mouths shut concerning the facts.

It takes courage to expose facts while secretly being threatened through personal emails. I don't know if Mr. Richter has received any personally threatening emails, but I have. Thank goodness for Jim Richter and other folks who have had the courage to expose the facts.

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Ginga1414

I can't tell you how deeply sorry I am that you have been burdened by those emails.
That is absolutely horrible and a very sad commentary on state of affairs in Fayette County.

All the more reason for everyone to calm down and stick with the issues and discussions that present ALL of the facts and present solutions, not back people into corners. Unfortunately Mr Richter's posts do not do that, as he leaves out the revenue challenges our schools are faced with and attacks the comptroller which is inappropriate. It's just not the right way to behave and as for the emails you have received, that is totally over the line and again I am sorry you have to go through that.

I can not express to you how disheartening it is to read your post, which is further compounded by some behavior I see exhibited on here.

I hope your post makes all of us think twice as we write comments on this blog.
Thank you for always showing grace and character when you post here.

Thanks
Larry

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Answer to Husband & Fat

I have spoken extensively with Mary Kay about school closings and what she has always said to me is that she would not vote for school closings without having sound research and financial data. She wasn’t pandering in her response.

Actually, Mary Kay does have extensive experience in finance and budgeting. Granted, her strong suit is in education, but when you go one-on-one with her, you realize she really knows budgeting and finance, and especially zero based budgeting concepts.

With Dr. Marchman, Mary Kay, Dr. Todd and Marion Key on the board, we will finally have people on board that understands what has to be done to get us out of the mess Smola, Smith, and Presberg have got us into.

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Thank you AP

I was not at the Q&A session, but I would bet most of those in attendence were people who are concerned about the budget and those with children at schools with possible closings. Mary Kay didn't acknowledge that her vote on school closings would be predicated on research and financial data. She stated that she would note vote for school closings. Therefore, I believe she was playing to the audience.

I am still voting for her, however I feel she will either have to turn a blind eye to the facts or she will be hearing from those parents who heard her campaign promise not to close schools. It's going to be a political issue she will have to deal with later.

I still don't understand the displeasure with the chairman. I have not observed anything that would make me feel that he is a problem here. I have spoken to a lot of people who have gotten to know him and they find him being accessible and knowledgeable. I think we need to give him more time.

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No, Larry ...

No, Larry I’m not pissed off

If you have been following my letters to the editor for at least five years and letters written by several others, we have each tried to bring about sane forecasts that would allow the board members and the superintendents to make sound decisions based on sound financial information.

And yes, I have been given Mary Kay advice and financial contributions along with Dr. Marchman, Dr. Todd and Marion Key because I regard them as outstanding board members and candidates.

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Question American Patriot

I will be voting for Mary Kay because we need to get Smith out.

However, after listening to the video from the question and answer session last week, I do have concerns regarding her understanding of the budget and the hard decisions that must be made.

For instance, she stated she would not vote for any school closures. You are much more knowledgable about the budget than I am. Don't you think she was pandering to the parents of these potential school closures instead of leaving her options open? I believe that this was a major mistake.

She's a very knowledgable person when it comes to the student programs and curriculum, however, I don't believe she has the experience with budget matters, and unless she reaches out to the right people for help, we are in for some trouble.

Sir, your thoughts please.

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Mr. Sussberg, Please Define "Bullies!"

You haven't clearly established what you mean by bullying!

You said that the "recent tactics" used in the Fayette Commissioners' campaign constituted bullying. Yet, the vast majority of voters ousted the current commissioners who had banded together to out vote the new commissioners at every instance.

With regard to the BOE campaign, please define your version of bullying, providing supporting examples or instances of where this has taken place.

Are you saying that "bullies" are providing inaccurate facts, here?

It seems that Mr. Richter, Nuk, myself, and others feel that when diplomacy doesn't work it's time to bring out the big guns. Tell it like it is!!

I know for a fact that Jim Richter has been working on the BOE financial problems for many years, and he is more than qualified to do so.

Is it "bullying" to state facts?

Do numbers lie?

Does two plus two equal four?

Is three against two a majority?

Larry Sussberg
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Ginga

I don't disagree with some of the points that have been raised but when AP brings up Dr Bearden's past marriages or other people attack Mr. Presburg because he won't discuss his religious beliefs I call that bullying. It's inappropriate.
I can give you a host of other inappropriate comments as well.

Also, in fairness to the school system, if the State can cut funding by $75 million over 5 years with almost no notice on a monthly basis that needs to be recognized and considered when making claims about budgeting. There has been 0 discussion about the revenue issues facing the school system.

So, I don't think an appropriate and fair picture has been painted. Big guns are fine, but what gets posted here is just wrong and unfair, sometimes cruel. Shame on AP and others!

Meanwhile, there has been a major change with FCBOE, there are new board members, a search for a new superintendent, and a budget to balance. Instead of attacking people on the blogs, isn't it better to start reaching out?

Why not meet with Presburg and the others? Why not suggest hiring a financial planner/forecaster to generate accurate numbers? Why not reach out to the superintendent of finance in the Coweta school system to see how they do it.

Now's the time....lets go positive.

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Mr Sussberg again : )

I would agree that worrying about somethings are just silly, However silly goes out the window when dealing with Public Taxpayer Funded employees.
Yes, there may well be a "thing" about Dr Beardens inability to remain married to his first "Contract" maybe it's Nothing he did, ok fine stuff happens, but what if it's about running the family budget in the ground all the time? what if it's about he lied to his wife all the time. YES ASKING THESE QUESTIONS is prudent unless you think Blindly handing over Millions of taxpayer dollars is a good idea.

Mr Presburg, doesn't want to disclose his religion, Fine let him seek Private Sector employment. If a man (or woman) doesn't have the courage here in THIS tolerant we don't kill you for "wrong" beliefs country to admit their religion or lack of a religion , how much Courage do you expect this person to have when Tough decisions have to be made?

These are NOT Bullying questions, they are Questions that ANY reasonable HR department would ask if allowed, and with our public officials WE ARE ALLOWED TO ASK

I agree about being positive, but not to the exclusion of doing so causes failure to identify all aspects of concerns. Sometimes it's a requirement to be negative

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Larry Sussberg's lunch invitation

Larry Sussberg’s lunch invitation

Someone suggested that I look at the list of Terri Smiths’ campaign donors, so I did. Your name was number one on the list.

I have no problem meeting with anyone to discuss the problems facing the school system. However, I will take a rain check on your lunch invitation until after the election.

I don’t believe the citizens of Fayette County have much of an appetite to reelect Smith.

In my opinion, Smith and Smola have been involved in every incredibly bad decision that has brought us to where we are today.

I have met with school board members on countless occasions over the last five years. And, I served on a finance and reporting committee consisting of Pat Hinchey, David Gardner, and the late Dr. Sam Tolbert, and me.

The committee came up with many sound recommendations but Bearden quickly dissolved the committee upon Sam’s death. Neither he nor Brock wanted any “interference” by outsiders. In fact, when the committee was established at a board meeting, the Comptroller leaned over to Fred Oliver, Assistant Superintendent, and said, “no damn way will I let them be on my committee.”

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americanpatriot
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In fact, when the committee was established at a board meeting, the Comptroller leaned over to Fred Oliver, Assistant Superintendent, and said, “no damn way will I let them be on my committee.

Anyone looking at the past financial actions of this district would certainly not want to be 'guided' by those who had recommended such actions. Many are researching the candidates - searching for those who have the intelligence to work with others in order to maintain/improve the Fayette County schools. You, being a member at one time or another of the finance committee of this district, either had very little impact on the committee - or agreed to the bad decisions that have been made.

There seems to be a problem in Fayette County of people even listening to those who may have a different solution to a problem. This attitude can be very detrimental to a fine school system IMO.

Larry Sussberg
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David's Mom

I suspect positive people can have positive impact. It may take time but I think most people would prefer to enter into a discussion than a tirade or get pissed on.

And.... I will be the first to admit that I am guilty of such behavior with the current PTC mayor.

Larry Sussberg
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Mr Richter

So you are pissed off over what happened in the past!
I understand and appreciate that.

So, now there are new people involved who probably would appreciate some input.

Look forward not backward. Now is the time to act.
Meanwhile, if You want Mary Kay to get elected, then help her and focus on her strengths.
Post why she's right for Fayette.
She's running a positive campaign and not attacking her opponent.

Larry Sussberg
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Jim Richter

Yes, I did send Terri Smith a $500 donation.

Why, I hate bullies. I believe that many of the recent tactics used by some people have been horrible. The recent Fayette Commissioner campaign proves that.

Feel free to call Mary Kay.. We have spoken in detail about the schools. Her information is actually posted on my Facebook page. She knows I made a donation to Terri and totally understood why I did. Terri also knows I have not made a decision who I will vote for and that Mary Kay and I have spoken. My company actually co-sponsored the recent candidates forum.

Mr Richter, this should not be about politics, it should be about the schools. You disappoint me and I'm pretty fed up with the bullies!

Also, I will continue to financially support any candidate that faces a bullying PAC in this county, whatever side it occurs on!
Bullying is not the American Way.

When you really decide to try to do some positive work with the schools, drop me an email. The issue here is helping the school system

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Mr Sussberg,

"Bullying is not the American Way"???
I surely hope whomever you do back for the school board knows more about America and her History than you seem to be willing to acknowledge.

Bullying is the latest emotional buzz word, quickly surpassing Racist, BOTH of which are often mis-used to gin up emotional responses.

I've always been amazed at folks when they find themselves on the "weaker side" claiming the other side is Bullying, but Never point the Bully Finger at themselves when they're on the stronger side...

(always heard; Honesty was the first victim in a Failing Society, seems to be true)

Larry Sussberg
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Quallacherokee

Unfortunately I have to agree with you on your comments.
It does mean we can't try, and I have been down the path you speak.... Guilty as charged too.

As for being in a weaker position, I don't think so because I chose to be involved.

Thanks, I appreciate the comments.

Larry Sussberg
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Duplicate

Duplicate

americanpatriots
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Maximum time out error

Maximum time out error

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Dup

Duplicate

fc1989
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Duplicate

Seems that the website times out and it does not seem to post so I posted again. Apologies for the multiple posts.

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Tea Party Personal Issues

It is a shame that the Tea Party (the same type of attack is on the Fayette County Issues Tea Party website)has to stoop to personal attacks on employees instead of dealing with the issues. It is understandable to criticize elected board members and the superintendent (comes with the position), but the school system employees (and I am not one) are working at the direction of the board and superintendent. If this is representative of the type of discussion the Tea Party conducts, I guess I didn't miss too much at the Tuesday night monthly gripe session at Whitewater Estates. I think it is quite inappropriate for this comment section. Apparently, "americapatriots" has a personal axe to grind. The editor should not allow this. I'd like to hear if the Tea Party has any other solutions besides fire everybody.

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fc1989

I don't see it as personal attack when a government employee fails to do their job in anything resembling a "competent fashion." Sorry, but americanpatriots and the Teas have this one completely right. You cannot have a financial director who has no idea what they are doing at all and it shows.

I may disagree with AP on other things(a lot actually), but he speaks the truth in this case and has been for quite a while.

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Her supervisors (supt/BOE) need to take the heat

Not sure who the scapegoat is in this situation. But I think it's wrong for a political group to call out a public employee. My guess is that she has to report to her superiors before anything is published. Don't you think there are political games played with these budgets? Why do you think we had such a large contingency in years past?

Her supervisors should be taking the heat on this one. If one of my employees had a project report that swings too far each month, I wonder if they have a handle on the budget. It is up to me to ask questions and correct the problem. Once in a while I find out I put too much on someones plate. As a young manager, I can learn from my mistakes in delegation. However, if it happens again and again, then you have to get rid of them or my job could be in jepordy.

I have one client, a very large company. Every year when they perform employee evaluations, they get rid of the bottom 1/3. It certainly keeps people on their toes.

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NUK_1

I think fc1989 is tired of reading all the belly aching.
Do something . Meet with new board members. Try getting involved, same with AP.

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.

.

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Americanpatriots FCBOE

Mr Richter
In your 5 year analysis did you factor in the $75 million in State of GA funding cuts which they can implement in a 30 day notice?

$75 million in cuts over 5 years averages, $7 1/2 million per year but of course the cuts have varied from year to year.

Should FCBOE consider hiring a financial planner? Maybe?

That would be a great suggestion you could make in a letter to the board.

We have new FCBOE members.... Nows your opportunity to have a great impact and offer to get involved.

Let's be positive and constructive how about emailing Marchman,Todd,Keyes, Presburg and the 2 candidates.
I'm sure they will welcome the input!

In fact, email Mr. Presburg, ask for lunch, I suspect he will meet with you to discuss!

Actually, can I join you? How's the week of Nov 12?

Now is the time for all patriots to take action instead of blog!
Help create the change.

Email me at Sussberg@aol.com and I'll give you Mr Presburg's FCBOE email account if you don't already have it.

Thanks
Larry

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Larry: Have you been asleep?

None of this is "new" to this year and people have been howling about it for several years, like before Rivers was even built. Why do you think the ESPLOST failed twice before it was passed?

Why do you have your head in the sand that Terri Smith of all people or Presburg have any idea what they are doing? Smith and Smola have a track record of utter disaster and their boys Bearden and Presburg have done exactly WHAT to address the problems before it got so deep that Bearden negotiated his way out of the system, Smola retired instead of getting humiliated, and Smith switched to being a Democrat in order to have a snowball's chance in hell at re-election.

You cannot move forward until you understand the problems that brought you to the this point. It's not the state funding cuts that you continually mention every damn day and seemingly forget that EVERY BOE has had to deal with that issue, Larry, EVERY BOE. Not just Fayette. What you should be asking is why was Fayette so pathetically unable to deal with these cuts that other BOE's have been able to manage without blowing through 20mil in reserves and then facing a 15-20mil in ONE YEAR?

Stop making apologies and BS about this fiasco and admit "we have a serious problem." A couple of months ago, you had no idea who Laura Brock the comptroller for the BOE even was. don't pretend like you have any idea what the hell you are talking about because it's obvious you don't.

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NUK_1 & FCBOE

No, I have been asleep, but I did recently decide to get involved and many of the people I have met have been very open and nice.

So... Get involved with me. Both you and AP have a lot to say here, so let's do something positive and constructive.

Let's set up a lunch with as many board members who will meet and let's talk!

I don't think it will be hard and we may have a positive result instead of shredding here on this blog. It's not like trying to speak with the PTC mayor.

So lets do it! Email me at Sussberg@aol.com

Lets try to make some changes. Harping on the past is a waste of time. There are new people on the board, we could express our concerns about the finances and what they might want to consider in a new superintendent. Now has never been a more perfect time.

I'll try to set it up, I'll even pay for lunch, otherwise I'll drink your famous drink! Lol

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Double update

Oops, don't know how that happened.

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Comptoller's bad financial forecasts

The comptroller's stupid monthly forecasts have led to incredibly bad decisions.

Over the last five years I have commented numerous times about the inaccurate and totally ridiculous monthly forecasts the Comptroller of the Fayette County School Board prepares each month.

Click on the following links to view the forecasts for July and September.

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4067&AID=3...

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4067&AID=4...

In three short months, the Comptroller’s forecast changed from an estimated fund balance at the end of the fiscal year, 6/30/13, from $800K to $4.2 million. Brock’s forecasts for several years have been this inaccurate month after month, and year after year.

The Board and two School Superintendents have made incredibly bad decisions based on Brock’s inaccurate monthly forecasts.

I won’t bore you with the spreadsheet analysis I prepared of how bad Brock’s forecasts have been, but in one month the estimated fund balance changed by $16 million.

Based on my five years of detailed analysis, I estimate the fund balance at the end of the fiscal year will be about $10 million – not $800 thousand!

The school superintendent's lack of understanding budgeting and finance, and his complete failure to lead, have resulted in him burning through $26 milion of our rainy day fund balance.

americanpatriots
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Comptoller's bad financial forecasts

The comptroller's stupid monthly forecasts have led to incredibly bad decisions.

Over the last five years I have commented numerous times about the inaccurate and totally ridiculous monthly forecasts the Comptroller of the Fayette County School Board prepares each month.

Click on the following links to view the forecasts for July and September.

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4067&AID=3...

https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4067&AID=4...

In three short months, the Comptroller’s forecast changed from an estimated fund balance at the end of the fiscal year, 6/30/13, from $800K to $4.2 million. Brock’s forecasts for several years have been this inaccurate month after month, and year after year.

The Board and two School Superintendents have made incredibly bad decisions based on Brock’s inaccurate monthly forecasts.

I won’t bore you with the spreadsheet analysis I prepared of how bad Brock’s forecasts have been, but in one month the estimated fund balance changed by $16 million.

Based on my five years of detailed analysis, I estimate the fund balance at the end of the fiscal year will be about $10 million – not $800 thousand!

The school superintendent's lack of understanding finance and his complete failure to lead, has resulted in him burning through $26 milion of our rainy day fund balance.

NUK_1
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americanpatriots: correct again

Unfortunately, neither DeCotis or Bearden got rid of Brock which has seemed like a no-brainer to me for years. Same would go for Sam Sweat and some other inept employees at the BOE administration. I don't know how anyone can be so incompetent and can manage to still be employed. Oh wait...yes I can.

Then again, there are those who blame the "state cuts" on her horrendous financial reporting and forecasts as well as a lack of relevant and accurate information when it is needed or even demanded. Yep, let's blame the "state" instead when all school systems across GA had to deal with the same cuts over and over. Sheesh.

Glad you're back to hold the BOE's feet to the fire because it cannot be stressed enough how poorly the BOE is doing. Forget test results and everything else academically when it's being held together with smoke and mirrors and, no, things are actually in really awful shape right now and several schools are going to be closed and a lot of employees gone.

Way past time to get serious about correcting problems that SHOULD have been corrected long before a 15-20mil deficit was staring everyone in the face and that any idiot could have seen coming unless they relied solely on Brock's reports.

garfield47
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Shame on all of you!

Shame on Bearden and the complete board for the mess we are in. Bearden scammed us, and part of the board was in on it. And the tax payers will pay the price.

I am fed up with all of our board members and I hope people will remember this at election time. We might not be able to vote Keyes out, but we can get rid of Smith. We will have to wait on Todd.

If all of this does not wake up the citizens of this county and they take some action during election times, I don't know what will.

Not Bearden or the board members have their attention on what is best for our students in the classroom and what is necessary to keep our schools at their best!

americanpatriots
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Bearden's mutual termination

I am sure by now many of you have read the Citizen Newspaper articles about Jeff Bearden’s mutual termination as school superintendent on September 19, 2012.

Ben Nelms wrote articles appearing in the Citizen newspapers on 9/20/12, 10/3/12 and 10/25/12.

Click on the following link to read Jeff Bearden’s employment application submitted to the Floyd County School District on September 4, 2012.

http://www.floydboe.net/UserFiles/Servers/Server_3118111/File/News/2012%...

Ignore the “Is it safe to open the file” message – this is a standard warning. It is safe to open the file.

I found the following items of particular interest:

Attachment Page 1, Section II – Bearden lists his salary as $180,000 but it is actually $153,000. See 10/25/12 article above. Some people call his application “puffery” but others call it lying.

Attachment Page 11 – Bearden lists the following references: Board of Education Chairman Leonard Presberg, and board members Janet Smola and Terri Smith; and the Board of Education’s attorney, Phil Hartley.

All of these people became aware of Bearden’s job application before the emergency meeting on September 19th called by Chairman Presberg. Why did these five people keep the information from the other two Board members, Dr. Bob Todd and Marion Key?

Based on what I have learned, Todd and Key first heard about Bearden’s job application by reading it on the online addition of the Rome News Tribune on October 23, 2012.

Several people have said the actions of Presberg, Smola and Smith, and the county’s attorney was highly unusual. Some people have said their failure to share important information with other members of the Board was a serious breach of their fiduciary duty and an ethics violation.

I’m not an attorney, but Presberg and Hartley are. I will leave it up to you to decide if what they did was improper. At the very least, I believe what Presberg, Smola, Smith and Hardley did was morally wrong and it showed a total disrespect for the other two board members.

In the 10/25/12 article cited above, “according to the Rome News-Tribune, Bearden indicated that he was impressed with the financial condition of the Floyd County School System. “Floyd I’m sure has made some really challenging decisions but the fact they have a relatively healthy fund balance tells me it’s been managed pretty well up there,” Bearden said. “So there are a lot of things about the community and school system that makes it a very attractive job.”

Well, we also had a healthy fund balance when Bearden took charge in January 2011, but his lack of leadership has almost spent all of our “rainy day” fund balance.

Is this the type of leadership we want from Presberg, Smola and Smith? You decide.

Submitted at 11:45 AM 10/29/12.

suggarfoot
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Smith, Smola, and Pressburg are skuzz

If there is anything underhanded going on with the schools, why do we always find Smith and Smola at the bottom of it?

There is no reason, if they were looking out for the children, (we know they don't) to have ..NOT...have told the other two, Key and Todd.

Their actions are always for the benifit and everyone BUT the children and the taxpayers.

If there is a lawyer in the house, please look at all the deals that have been mentioned in this paper...(schools built in cow pastures far from the cities, but next to the developers lands.... Smith's hubby is a developer) and figure out a way to sue the hell out of these people and get it over with once and for all!!!

Husband and Fat...
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1. I think everyone needs to

1. I think everyone needs to get a life and drop the supt issue. The guy is leaving and there is nothing anyone can do about it. It wasn't a good fit.

2. Salary issue: the guy didn't lie. He is showing his salary and benefits. He may have a salary of $153, but he has a car allowance, and other perks that's all part o the package.

3. The guy didn't hide anything. He saw a job opening he felt would be a better fit for he and his family. He notified the board chairman as any respectable person would do as a courtesy. I am sure he told them in confidence.

Now had he kept his application a secret, people would be screaming too.

4. Mr. Bearden has been on the job less than 2 years. So he only had his hands on the budget 2 times, and most likely only once. The board voted to approve the budgets. They didn't have to. No one put a gun to their head. The cuts should have been made a long time ago.

5. I really don't understand the bloggers dislike of Pressburg. The man didn't make the rules. When he was appointed, he was appointed by the rules we set. Since his appointment, he has been the most involved and accessible board member. Just ask anyone. There is nothing in his voting record that makes me believe that he isn't capable of performing his duties.

6. Smith and Smola have their fingerprints all over our problems based on their voting record. We need to get rid of smith on Tuesday.

7. This won't be the end. I guarantee there will be harder decisions to make in the coming months. Fewer schools, less busing, people laid off. You ain't seen nothing yet.

citizenal
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Make sure Smith is voted out this time and Presburg next.

It seems there was a cozy circle working against Fayette County. Voters take note!

citizenal
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Make sure Smith is voted out this time and Presburg next.

It seems there was a cozy circle working against Fayette County. Voters take note!

Peter Pfeifer
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Mary Kay DID run against Smith!

C'mon you guys. Even if your memory is that bad - look it up!

Mary Kay Bacallao DID run against Smith in the Republican Primary 4 years ago! That was when Smith was still pretending to be a Republican.

Who did YOU vote for? Or, did you not vote and just complain about the result?

NUK_1
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Mr. Pfeifer: You are correct, sir

I had completely forgotten. Since I have never voted for Smith ever, pretty sure I would have voted for Ballacao in the primary, but I sure don't remember her running. Wow, that was only 4 years ago too :( UGH.

I remember a write-in candidate back then also, but forget her name too. Getting old sucks!

SPQR
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that would be

Nicole File

AtHomeGym
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Spqr & write-in

Thanks for the correction--don't know where I got "Julie Imker" from but
I agree with "File".

AtHomeGym
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Nuk & "write-in"

Her name was Juli Imker I think--but not 100% sure.

citizenal
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Make sure Smith is voted out this time and Presburg next.

It seems there was a cozy circle working against Fayette County. Voters take note!

johenry
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Shame on Smith, Smola and Presberg!!!

We are the fools for electing Terri Smith and Janet Smola and then re-electing them! Look at what we got for our trouble.

Leo Presberg was appointed but he's no better than the other two.

Pogo
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Bearden

All these issues are entirely the fault of the BOE. Bearden is looking out for himself as he probably always has. The BOE hired him although the system that he came from in Maine was not comparable in any way to Fayette. I followed the information made available during the search process and felt that he was not completely vetted. Then the BOE hired his "friend" for a position that probably had several local well qualified candidates and told the public that there was no connection. That being said, the BOE must have been satisfied with his performance because they extended his contract. The fact that he decided to apply elsewhere after he had signed a contract with Fayette is completely his call, however, the BOE had no obligation legal or otherwise to accept his termination request and certainly not to give him a generous termination package. It appears that the BOE awarded a bonus for a breach of contract. At the very least, they could just have told him to walk and not to let the door him on the way out.

Pogo
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Bearden

All these issues are entirely the fault of the BOE. Bearden is looking out for himself as he probably always has. The BOE hired him although the system that he came from in Maine was not comparable in any way to Fayette. I followed the information made available during the search process and felt that he was not completely vetted. Then the BOE hired his "friend" for a position that probably had several local well qualified candidates and told the public that there was no connection. That being said, the BOE must have been satisfied with his performance because they extended his contract. The fact that he decided to apply elsewhere after he had signed a contract with Fayette is completely his call, however, the BOE had no obligation legal or otherwise to accept his termination request and certainly not to give him a generous termination package. It appears that the BOE awarded a bonus for a breach of contract. At the very least, they could just have told him to walk and not to let the door him on the way out.

Husband and Fat...
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Speculation and moving forward

The job of a school supt is somewhat like a football coach in that the job is politically influenced. Superintendents have families too and do not want their career to be dictated by the whim of an elected board. Therefore most request multi year contracts with rollovers. Without this clause, they have no authority. This would bring chaos to everyone below the Supt level.

Every BOE has issues with their supt. Everyone is a Monday morning quarterback. Everyone else can do a better job. Look back. Dr. Decotis had issues with the board and even filed charges.

I suspect Dr. Bearden felt some things were amiss and maybe some Board Members had ulterior motives or we're overstepping their authority. He probably pushed for his contract extension this summer for leverage. Then, he saw the writing on the wall and knew that he was going to be fired and brought his attorney into the meeting ready to go public with charges that would have certainly hurt the board and maybe could have gotten the state involved. In lieu of bringing these charges to light, the board agrees to a deal that there will be no public disparages from either side.

Mr. Bearden looked out for his family. No one can blame a man for that.

FC has a problem. A big problem. We have a lame duck supt. A board that is not strong and a lot of political agendas. We have a financial crisis and a lot of citizens not looking at the complete disaster about to happen.

We are going to have to go out and recruit someone for the supt position who is a proven business person. A retired business person who doesn't need the paycheck, will not be intimidated by anyone, and who wants to do this for public service. Someone similar to Mr. Davis in ATL. We need this person to right size our schools, provide leadership, and maybe have to be the bad guy decisions for our own good. We have people like this in our community. Recently retired CEO's who built businesses from scratch and now need a new challenge. I would go after that guy to save us.

Husband and Fat...
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Speculation and moving forward

The job of a school supt is somewhat like a football coach in that the job is politically influenced. Superintendents have families too and do not want their career to be dictated by the whim of an elected board. Therefore most request multi year contracts with rollovers. Without this clause, they have no authority. This would bring chaos to everyone below the Supt level.

Every BOE has issues with their supt. Everyone is a Monday morning quarterback. Everyone else can do a better job. Look back. Dr. Decotis had issues with the board and even filed charges.

I suspect Dr. Bearden felt some things were amiss and maybe some Board Members had ulterior motives or we're overstepping their authority. He probably pushed for his contract extension this summer for leverage. Then, he saw the writing on the wall and knew that he was going to be fired and brought his attorney into the meeting ready to go public with charges that would have certainly hurt the board and maybe could have gotten the state involved. In lieu of bringing these charges to light, the board agrees to a deal that there will be no public disparages from either side.

Mr. Bearden looked out for his family. No one can blame a man for that.

FC has a problem. A big problem. We have a lame duck supt. A board that is not strong and a lot of political agendas. We have a financial crisis and a lot of citizens not looking at the complete disaster about to happen.

We are going to have to go out and recruit someone for the supt position who is a proven business person. A retired business person who doesn't need the paycheck, will not be intimidated by anyone, and who wants to do this for public service. Someone similar to Mr. Davis in ATL. We need this person to right size our schools, provide leadership, and maybe have to be the bad guy decisions for our own good. We have people like this in our community. Recently retired CEO's who built businesses from scratch and now need a new challenge. I would go after that guy to save us.

NUK_1
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Sorry husbandandfather but I disagree

Bearden knew what he was getting into when he applied and accepted the job. The Citizen is well-archived in Google and every other search engine and he had to know there was a big storm brewing amongst the residents as well as a budgetary crisis happening that anyone could see and already were talking about, and not just here. Bearden is not a moron and he knew going in that this was a big reclamation job and also one that involved some nasty politics too. He failed miserably.

You cannot accept a position and sit on your hands for a year waiting/hoping/dreaming that money is going to fall out of the sky and make your job easy. He was hired to clean up a mess and didn't make much of an attempt to do anything until it really hit the fan and then it was look out for #1.

Frankly, I have more respect for someone like Don Haddix who ran for and accepted a job knowing it would be tough sailing. He has at least done SOMETHING positive in regards to the Tennis Center fiasco and bringing in Canongate to save the City budget 200K+/yr and also getting rid of Steve Brown's stupid "Tourism Authority" disaster. I may disagree with Haddix on about EVERYTHING else and hate his big mouth and ego too, but at least he's not a coward and total wuss that runs away from challenges he knowingly signed-on for like Bearden has done. Bearden is a loser and good damn riddance.

Husband and Fat...
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You may be right

He wasn't a strong enough personality to get the job done. However the board has a lot of fault too.

Who is strong enough to get us out of this mess? What's your position on the type of person to lead us?

NUK_1
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husband: Better be a person with thick skin

I think it will help greatly that in all likelihood we have two new BOE members replacing two of the biggest problems. It's still a daunting challenge for whomever accepts the job, but I think he/she will have a better BOE to work with and there won't be any doubt that there are serious challenges immediately facing this person or the fact that everyone needs to work together right NOW. No more stalling, wishing, delaying,politics,etc.

The one benefit is that FC schools are still up there in comparison to other public school systems in GA so I think they'll be quality candidates that aren't afraid to come into a turnaround situation politically and financially. At least the academics aren't in the toilet and FC is still a damn nice place to live. Those are serious positives in attracting really good candidates for the job, despite the negatives of the present financial condition and BOE blunders. You have active parents and some pretty good kids out there in this system and I think we can get better with a partially new BOE and superintendent that doesn't mind rolling up their sleeves and getting down in the mud.

NUK_1
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Pogo: Agree

On every point too. It's like a comedy/tragedy of errors from start to finish by all involved, starting with the voters who elected the BOE and there wasn't even opposition 4 yrs ago to Smith or Smola despite a lot of discontent then.

Here's hoping that Marchman and Ballacao can be a big upgrade. The next superintendent as well.

suggarfoot
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Nuk,,,that should be carved on everyone's foreheads

"a comedy/tragedy of errors from start to finish by all involved, starting with the voters who elected the BOE ...AND THERE WASN'T EVEN OPPOSITION 4 YEARS AGO TO SMITH OR SMOLA DESPITE A LOT OF DISCONTENT THEN."

I begged several very gifted people who were much better qualified than Smola to run against her. They wouldn't, they were too busy. Not just the ones that were asked, but the ones that weren't...no one stepped forward. I could have run my dog against Smola and it would have done a better job.

Everyone knew what Smith and Smola were doing. Poor Dr Todd and Marion Key were like the guys at the Alamo waiting for reinforcements that no on cared to send.
Then Wright pulled out, and a wonderful DYING man, Dr Tolbert, came to the rescue of Fayette county.

That is right guys, a dying man, in tremendous pain, stepped forward to do what the younger and healthy didn't have the time to do. SAVE YOUR KIDS FUTURE and the schools, from the buzzards!

If others had run for Smith and Smola's seats then, you could might possibly saved your schools. Now it is too late.

AtHomeGym
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Sweetfeet & opposition

Wait--I remember writing in someone named "Julie"--something like Imker I think--so there WAS opposition previously,just not enough folks wrote her in.

suggarfoot
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Nuk,,,that should be carved on everyone's foreheads

"a comedy/tragedy of errors from start to finish by all involved, starting with the voters who elected the BOE ...AND THERE WASN'T EVEN OPPOSITION 4 YEARS AGO TO SMITH OR SMOLA DESPITE A LOT OF DISCONTENT THEN."

I begged several very gifted people who were much better qualified than Smola to run against her. They wouldn't, they were too busy. Not just the ones that were asked, but the ones that weren't...no one stepped forward. I could have run my dog against Smola and it would have done a better job.

Everyone knew what Smith and Smola were doing. Poor Dr Todd and Marion Key were like the guys at the Alamo waiting for reinforcements that no on cared to send.
Then Wright pulled out, and a wonderful DYING man, Dr Tolbert, came to the rescue of Fayette county.

That is right guys, a dying man, in tremendous pain, stepped forward to do what the younger and healthy didn't have the time to do. SAVE YOUR KIDS FUTURE and the schools, from the buzzards!

If others had run for Smith and Smola's seats then, you could might possibly saved your schools. Now it is too late.

fc1989
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BOE called meeting 11/9

Anyone know why there is a special called meeting for 11/9 at 3pm? Personnel and exceutive session on the agenda per eBoard.

G35 Dude
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fc1989- A guess

Probably to determine how many teachers, custodians, bus drivers, etc have to be laid off to pay for Dr Bearden's separation package.

fc1989
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Deleted

Deleted

yada yada yada
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Steve Brown

Yea, Steve Brown is all about disclosure and ethics himself. HA HA

Steve Brown
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This is very sad.

I had several notable figures, in the recent past, try to paint me a very different picture of what we now know to be the actual events. Three board members knew Bearden was leaving well in advance of the infamous executive session.

Terri Smith has been up to her ears in dreadful decisions concerning our school system. Now we have another significant event where there was no disclosure.

Sad.

Larry Sussberg
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Steve Brown

Before passing judgement on the facts we know.
What we don't know is what was discussed in the executive committee meeting with Dr Bearden, his attorney, the FCBOE and their attorney.
Don't you find it strange that lawyers were called in and there is a confidentiality agreement surrounding the facts.

Got another theory for you...
Read Missy blog comment identifying "unnamed citizens" as people high up in the school system who Dr Todd spoke to .
Read the Missy blog comment and the Recall article
I guess we will never know either way...
and in fairness to every one on the FCBOE and Dr. Bearden, we should not jump to conclusions since we don't know all the facts.

G35 Dude
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Mr Sussberg- I know all I need to.

All I need to know is that this board once again threw away a lot of my money and is not willing to let me know why.

NUK_1
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BOE.....unbelievable

Even considering past blunders and fiascos, this one might top them all. I guess we'll never know if the information about Bearden actively seeking another job was shared with all members of the BOE the night they decided 4-1 to accept a termination deal. It doesn't make a lot of sense to pay a year's severance to someone who is actively seeking another job in the first place!

If Presberg was thinking the above, I don't blame him for voting NO at all and wonder what Todd/Key were doing? Sleeping? Since Smola and Smith, the two main architects of the financial mess the BOE has right now are Bearden's references, Floyd County would do well to pause and think about this one as I can't think of two worse references to use. They were sure nice to give Bearden a sweet going away present and maybe he'll share some of his severance with them. Hmmm.

Veritas
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Presberg and Smith and bearden

Did not notify Todd and Key of Bearden's application for the Floyd county position. As this would void the contract agreement if he was chosen. Smola , Smith, Presberg and Bearden pushes for the contract extention back this summer because they wanted to guarantee Bearden his money just in case. Why the push for an early contract extension? Then all out of the blue the willingness to agree to his termination agreement. We now know why!

NUK_1
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Bearden and the BOE BS

On one hand, it would be good for FC if Floyd Co. picks Bearden since that would get the BOE off the hook for the severance deal since the Floyd position is an immediate opening, but I would question what happens to Floyd county's school system and their parents/children if they selected Bearden. He has been a real failure for FC and I don't know if simply having a better financial situation in Floyd would turn him into a managerial wizard suddenly.

Frankly, I'm just glad he's gone, even if we end up footing the bill for his severance. I give him high marks for playing the political game extremely well to his own benefit since Day 1. He's got a better future in political office than school systems IMO. He did all of about NOTHING for over a year and played the BOE like a fiddle and now might be cashing-in elsewhere. Shrewd for him, not good for FC. The fact that he had willing partners in people like Smith and Smola is no surprise whatsoever.

Smart Woman
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Smith's affirmative vote

So we know from Bearden’s Floyd County Schools application that at least two board members, Smith and Presberg, knew Bearden had applied for another job. Even before Terri Smith voted to approve the “mutual termination” agreement and the authorization to Bearden of one year’s salary and benefits all the while knowing that for next year's budget, employee pay will be cut, some employees will loose their jobs, and schools will be closed.

cogitoergofay
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Terri Smith betrayed us again

In the classic Smola tradition, Terri Smith betrayed Fayette County yet again. Bearden may get another job and Smith knew he was looking. She essentially agreed to a no-comment, double-dip severance in which Fayette County will pay Bearden $200,000 in addition to what he gets elsewhere.

Smola and Smith have been doing this dishonesty for a decade.

thinkingisgood
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The time is now to go back to elected Superintendants.

This is the second time FBOE has appointed a Superintendent that has left office early for various reasons. The current Superintendent got a sweet heart deal from a school board that was not responsible when it came to the tax payers money of Fayette County. I hold each one responsible for creating this problem and cost to the citizens of Fayette County. The problem in Fayette County and many other counties is when we started appointing Superintends many school Boards in the state began to mini manage county school systems. The Constitution of the State of Georgia states the responsibility of the School Boards are to make policy for the local schools and the Superintends job is to manage the school system. When we had Elected Superintends they managed and the school board had no power over them when it came to managing the system. If they didn't do a good job the people of each county could vote them out of office and they didn't get any severance pay or where the salaries nearly as high as they are today. I urge you to contact your locale state representative and senator and less vote in the next general election to go back to elected superintendents. Then we will no longer have these messes we have in Clayton, City of Atlanta, Fayette and various other counties that have these problems with these highly paid appointed superintendents.

g8trgrl
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Smart Woman

Confirms why I did not vote for Smith!

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