Bedden named finalist for Texas job

Dana Bedden, superintendent of Richmond County schools, applied for the position in January and was among three finalists for the job.

The Irving Independent School District in Irving, Texas named Dana Bedden the lone finalist for its open superintendent position tonight, according to the system's board chairman.

Jerry Christian said he contacted Bedden about the board's decision and said the superintendent was pleased with the outcome. He said the two discussed when they could begin contract negotiations.

According to Texas law, the Irving board must now wait 21 days before it can officially offer the job, which has been open since last year, when longtime Superintendent Jack Singley retired.

Bedden said in a statement tonight that he was honored by the selection, but wouldn't comment about whether he will accept the job.

"In order to remain professional and dedicated to the job at hand, I will not be fielding questions or providing any speculation in regards to my employment status," he said in the statement. "I would like to respectfully request that the media allow the process to take its course and I give the assurance that when it becomes appropriate, I will release a statement in regards to my future."

The superintendent has said previously that the Irving opportunity fits his skills well and that he would do what's best for him family.

Christian said that the contract the school district plans to offer Bedden will come close to the $250,000 salary paid to its former superintendent. Bedden's base salary with Richmond County is roughly $185,000.

Bedden was among three finalists for the job and applied for it in January after being recruited the month before. Thursday's meeting in Texas was reschuled from the previous week when a record snowfall in Irving cancelled proceedings.

Locally, some Richmond County school board members had hoped to sway Bedden their way in the meantime, but on Tuesday night the board took no action on making an official offer to Bedden.

Bedden has been in the middle of contract negotiations in Richmond County as his three-year contract here is set to expire in July. According to that contract, even if he accepts the Texas job he must finish out his current term in Augusta through July 31 unless the Richmond board releases him from it. Some board members have already said they would hold him to the contract.

Some Richmond County school members also have said that a week ago an unofficial offer was presented to Bedden, allowing a deferred raise based partly on there no longer being any school worker furloughs or layoffs. Some board members said they were waiting on an agreement from Bedden before officially voting on an offer.

Bedden has said that he likely wouldn't have been in the running for the Texas superintendent job if board members had offered him a contract sooner. He said talks began about his Augusta contract a year ago.

School board takes no action on Bedden
Statement from Dana Bedden

The following is a statement from Dr. Bedden:

I have become the lone finalist for the position of Superintendent for Irving Independent School District near Dallas. I am honored to have been selected by the Irving ISD Board of Trustees.

In order to remain professional and dedicated to the job at hand, I will not be fielding questions or providing any speculation in regards to my employment status. I would like to respectfully request that the media allow the process to take its course and I give the assurance that when it becomes appropriate, I will release a statement in regards to my future.

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