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Texas-bound Bedden concerned whether progress will continue

Video highlights from Dana Bedden's news conference.
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Richmond County schools Superintendent Dana Bedden faced the media and some community members Wednesday, addressing everything from his upcoming departure to Irving, Texas, to the outlook for his current school district.

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Outgoing superintendent Dana Bedden speaks during a press conference at the Richmond County Board of Education building.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Outgoing superintendent Dana Bedden speaks during a press conference at the Richmond County Board of Education building.

Locally, he said, it now looks as though the Richmond County school system will be able to avoid three more furlough days through the end of this school year -- partly because of recent energy conservation measures and higher-than-expected property tax returns to the school system.

"Right now, we know we're ahead of schedule with the dollar figures that are being collected," he said in a news conference that took place less than a week after he accepted a superintendent position at the Irving Independent School District.

The three furlough days recommended earlier this year for school systems by Gov. Sonny Perdue represent about $3 million in Richmond County. Bedden had previously set aside April 30 and May 24 and 25 as days that could have been used if the furloughs proved necessary.

As for Bedden's nearly three-year term in Richmond County, he said he's been most proud of how the school district was able to improve its test scores during his tenure despite tough economic conditions. He said he has no regrets coming to Augusta. "I can't say a bad thing about the place other than the fact that things -- it's nothing bad -- it just didn't work out."

Bedden did say, though, that there continues to be an unfair negative perception of Augusta driven by a minority of vocal naysayers.

"Stop letting the vocal minority ... drive things," he said.

As for the district's future, Bedden said he has concerns whether the changes made to the system in his time will continue to take root.

He said he'll be working with the board in the coming months to determine a most appropriate time for his departure, but he promised to stay at least through the budget process in the next couple months and through high school graduations.

The contract Bedden signed in Irving has a start date of July 1, but the one in Augusta ends July 31.

Bedden also said he'll be reaching out to good superintendents he knows to make them aware of Richmond County's opening.

Bedden said he's excited about his new opportunity in Irving -- becoming their first minority leader -- and looks forward to learning the district, which has a majority Spanish-speaking student base. Bedden said he's not bilingual but expects to start learning Spanish.

Among those at Bedden's Wednesday news conference was a community member who apologized for the public not speaking up enough to keep him here.

"Shame on us," said LaFaye Hargrove, a Columbia County resident who ran a program in Richmond County schools for troubled students.

"I think it's a sad day in our community today."

Bedden said he appreciated the comment and reiterated that his decision to leave had nothing to do with money, even though some school board members couldn't agree whether to offer him a raise amid tough economic times.

"The issue is the board could not come to consensus about what the contract would look like," Bedden said.

Share your opinion online

The school board is asking Richmond County residents to give their input on what they'd like to see in a new superintendent. An online superintendent qualifications survey was posted Wednesday on the school system's Web site -- www.rcboe.org. The results will be forwarded to the Georgia School Boards Association, the group that is helping the school board in its search.

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nofrills
0
Points
nofrills 03/18/10 - 06:13 am
0
0
He is a liar. it was all

He is a liar. it was all about money. Nobody with half an education would turn it down. I just wish he was honest about it.

isaidit
0
Points
isaidit 03/18/10 - 07:48 am
0
0
nofrills - It's a no brainer.

nofrills - It's a no brainer. Who in their right mind would turn down a 60k raise......if given the oppotunity?! The foot dragging on his new contract by the board played a major role in his decision to leave ARC. Because of their perceived cold shoulder and lack of action, another, more attractive offer became that much more attractive. He was "Blue Chip", we had him first and they blew it. Be upset with those who could've (should've) kept him here. Is that honest enough for you!? As you stated, you would've done the same.....so would I, so stop "hatin" on a man who's decision YOU agree with!

glassrinkmaker
0
Points
glassrinkmaker 03/18/10 - 07:36 am
0
0
Thank God and TX he's gone!!!

Thank God and TX he's gone!!!

isaidit
0
Points
isaidit 03/18/10 - 08:59 am
0
0
My goodness glassrinkmaker,

My goodness glassrinkmaker, What in the world did this man do to you?? Thank GOD he's gone!!?? Another hater?? He should pass up a more lucrative contract, to hell with lifting his career to a higher level, and to put his family in his decision making process; how selfish and self-serving he must be! I don't understand how he could ever consider leaving with all the appreciation and respect he's drowning in here.....the nerve of him........and his family. But I'm sure he agrees wholeheartidly with what you said...."Thank God and Texas"!

Mr. Thackeray
1537
Points
Mr. Thackeray 03/18/10 - 08:09 am
0
0
glassinkmaker (?) Better look

glassinkmaker (?) Better look again, Texas has an educational system that puts even our "finest" Columbia County schools to shame. More money, better educational system, no gigantic racial divide, no state income tax, and people who will reward him for good work. No one in their right mind would pass it up!

corgimom
55849
Points
corgimom 03/18/10 - 08:11 am
0
0
Nofrills, I don't understand

Nofrills, I don't understand your attitude. He wasn't offered a new employment contract. Everyone agrees on that. If you don't get offered a new contract, meaning you don't have a job, what would you do? What would you expect him to do?

There are some strange ideas in Augusta, but this is one of the strangest reactions I've ever seen.

tinytuna
74
Points
tinytuna 03/18/10 - 08:14 am
0
0
Good luck in Texas!

Good luck in Texas!

Riverman1
163026
Points
Riverman1 03/18/10 - 09:53 am
0
0
He was applying for other

He was applying for other jobs a couple of years ago. he, himself, said he had been a finalist for two other jobs since coming here. That was way before his new contract was even being discussed.

There is one major headhunter organization for school superintendents. He left his name and resume with them a long time ago, never removed it and at every job opening his name was being considered. He wanted it that way.

Let's not weave this into something it wasn't. He wanted another, higher paying job. Nothing wrong with that. Wish him well, but at the same time don't blame anyone here for forcing him out in any way.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 03/18/10 - 12:28 pm
0
0
HELP WANTED Must be willing

HELP WANTED
Must be willing to accept blame for all problems in the school system, community and country (including gang activity and the nation's economy).
Must never accept praise for anything that goes well.
Must produce immediate results (acceptable results are ONLY 100 percent passing on all tests and 100 percent grad rates).
Must be willing to place the school system ahead of your family.
Must please all people at all times (especially being willing to yield to the anonymous comments posted online).
Must be able to absorb 10s of millions in funding cuts while not raising taxes and not upsetting anyone.
Must work for minimum wage.
Ideal candidate will be willing to work without pay and without a contract. Also, the ideal candidate will have the ability to print money.

corgimom
55849
Points
corgimom 03/18/10 - 01:14 pm
0
0
Insider, you forgot, "Come to

Insider, you forgot, "Come to work for RC and people expect you to be an indentured servant for life."

AugustaVoter
1
Points
AugustaVoter 03/18/10 - 01:37 pm
0
0
I have to wholeheartedly

I have to wholeheartedly agree with the comments of isaidit, Mr. Thackeray, corgimom, tinytuna and even insider. I cannot hold Dr. Bedden accountable for his desire to better his life and he is the only one who has to live with that. As a DFW native I can tell you that Mr. T's comment about the school system is pretty much accurate. From a cost of living standpoint he is losing money. DFW is expensive. Irving is home to several Fortune 500 companies, the Dallas Cowboys, and is extremely expensive for housing. I wish him good luck there. He won't have the racial bias and the political monster like he has had to deal with here. Thank you for your time here Dr. Bedden. You are a heck of a lot better that your predecessor, Dr. Larke!

justus4
132
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justus4 03/18/10 - 04:43 pm
0
0
Look at the title of the
Unpublished

Look at the title of the article. It doesn't appear that the "concerns" are a direct quote, so why was that particular wording used? Simple, it's the exact same reason Bedden is gettin' gone. The local printing operation is the elephant in the room and the article clearly demonstrates it. Of course those useful idiots will not understand, but it's a clear pattern which well-rounded citizens easily recognize. Expect more of it before his official departure.

Riverman1
163026
Points
Riverman1 03/18/10 - 06:19 pm
0
0
It is hilarious how some

It is hilarious how some don't address the fact Bedden was always trying to leave ARC from almost the time he arrived. I mean he earned his money while he was here and I appreciate that, but to suggest he was forced to leave in any way is silly.

Riverman1
163026
Points
Riverman1 03/18/10 - 06:25 pm
0
0
Most school superintendents

Most school superintendents stay in one place an average of about 5 years. It is the nature of the job. Bedden has a style that doesn't last quite that long from his past jobs and here.

For goodness sakes, stop blaming the media, school board, principals, teachers, bus drivers, students and the parents. No one displayed racist attitudes toward Dr. Bedden. Few wanted him to leave. Now, let's move on to a new superintendent.

glassrinkmaker
0
Points
glassrinkmaker 03/18/10 - 09:11 pm
0
0
Still, no one has told me

Still, no one has told me what he has done. Oh, sorry, yes they have. He was better than Larke! ha, ha!

lylagirl
2
Points
lylagirl 03/18/10 - 11:01 pm
0
0
Dr. B....you said you can't

Dr. B....you said you can't say anything bad about Augusta....it just didn't work out and that is not bad....well what is it then if that isn't bad...but it might good for us in the long run. As far a progression continuing..this county wasn't doing so bad before you came and it will thrive and prosper even after you are gone. We are a resilient county with dedicated and caring educators who will stay and ensure the progress of this county....as for you...may you have continued success combing the country trying to find you and your place ...God's speed!!!!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 03/18/10 - 11:41 pm
0
0
glassrinkmaker, I direct you

glassrinkmaker, I direct you to the GOSA. That should answer all your questions, but you won't go there because you would prefer not to know the truth. I understand. It's easier that way.

isaidit
0
Points
isaidit 03/19/10 - 01:01 am
0
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Riverman-Four months before

Riverman-Four months before his contract expires.....NO offer on the table! If he continued to keep his options in mind and his credentials circulating since he got here, as you stated, then he was a smart man. And if the board, like yourself, was aware of his marketable situation, then they did, in fact, leave him VERY available to other offers! The board choose to gamble in hopes of negotiating another contract full of IF's!
Imagine if he wasn't selected for the TX position........the board would've had a good time "low ballin" him instead of making a good faith competitive offer. Not only is he smart, he can see B.S. coming.

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