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Richmond County's superintendent pool down to 3

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The next superintendent of Richmond County schools will come from Alabama, Texas or Augusta's own backyard -- North Augusta.

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Dr. Roy "Cole" Pugh recently retired as superintendent of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas. Just this year, he has been named a candidate for at least three other vacant superintendent positions.
Dr. Roy "Cole" Pugh recently retired as superintendent of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas. Just this year, he has been named a candidate for at least three other vacant superintendent positions.

On Tuesday night, the Richmond County school board named its final three candidates to fill the role vacated last month by Dana Bedden: Dr. Faron Hollinger, who retired in April as superintendent of Baldwin County Public Schools in Bay Minette, Ala.; Dr. Roy "Cole" Pugh, who recently retired as superintendent of Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD in Fort Worth, Texas; and Dr. Frank Roberson, a North Augusta resident who is the superintendent of the Marlboro County School District in Bennettsville, S.C.

The board must now wait 14 days before choosing, in accordance with state law. The board plans to hold a meeting at 3:30 p.m. Aug. 10 to name its new superintendent.

Tuesday's announcement followed a search that produced 49 candidates from across the nation.

"These three stood out above the others," board member Jack Padgett said.

Roberson is not new to area schools. He served as interim superintendent for Edgefield County in 2006-07, according to his résumé. The school board there named him acting superintendent in March 2007, but he decided to apply for the then-open Aiken County school superintendent's position after contract negotiations stalled in Edgefield. He had requested a contract that would have let him leave the Edgefield post with 60 days' notice, according to reports in The Augusta Chronicle.

Roberson's résumé shows he was an "education consultant/evaluator/entrepreneur" from November 2007 to July 2009 before taking his current role as superintendent in Marlboro County, a system that has 4,800 students.

Roberson most recently was making $135,000, "but I allowed $20,000 of it to be applied to operations given state shortfalls to save teaching positions," he wrote in his application.

Roberson, who touts education experience dating back to 1979, was responsible for a $48 million annual budget.

"Please note that most of my experience in senior level administration was in a neighboring school system to Richmond County where the budget was $230,000,000," he wrote in his application, in which he also said, "I know the Richmond County School System very well."

Pugh has held the role of superintendent seven times, dating to 1983, according to his résumé. Just this year, he has been named a candidate for at least three other vacant superintendent positions.

In February, he was among four candidates vying for the Pulaski County Special School District in Arkansas, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. In April, he was among six semifinalists in the search to fill the Baldwin County, Ala., position vacated by Hollinger, the Mobile Press-Register reported. Two weeks ago, he was among three finalists for the superintendent's job in Fayette County, Ga., according to The Citizen News in Fayetteville.

Pugh's application stated that he had been making $195,000 in his most recent job and was responsible for an annual budget of $127 million, overseeing a system of 16,100 students at Eagle Mountain-Saginaw.

In an education philosophy portion of his application, he wrote: "The board and superintendent must function as the leadership team and provide the vision, direction and support necessary for a successful school system."

Hollinger's education experience dates to his teaching days in 1977. He has been a superintendent one other time, in Jasper, Ala. He said that his most recent salary was $195,000, and, according to his application, he was responsible for an annual budget of $127 million and a school system with 28,022 students. Richmond County's school population is at more than 32,000.

Hollinger was a finalist in 2008 for Muscogee County, Ga., school superintendent, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer .

In the education philosophy section of his application, he wrote: "In today's accountability environment, the successful school system has to be focused, prepared and committed to continuous improvement in student achievement."

Millage rollback

The Richmond County school board voted unanimously Tuesday to tentatively roll back its portion of the county millage by 0.232 mills, resulting in a savings of $8.12 a year for the owner of an average $100,000 home.

The decision came after the board was told that about $1 million had been realized from conservation efforts, other cost-saving measures and an improved tax base. Rolling the rate back 0.232 mill to a total school millage of 19.11 costs the school system $1,114,100.

School finance leader Gene Spires said he would have preferred the school board adopt an option that would have at least kept the millage unchanged from the past fiscal year. He said that way the $1 million from the system's fund balance could have been held over should mid-fiscal year cuts come later this year and in 2012, which he says "is going to be an awful year."

The school board will have to give final approval to the millage at a meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 12.

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AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 07/28/10 - 01:20 am
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Prediction: Good Ol Boy, Dr.

Prediction: Good Ol Boy, Dr. Frank Roberson from right across the river will get the job. He knows the CSRA and how the political machine that is the Corrupt Richmond County Government entities work. Plus, He's the only Black candidate left.

jbenny2010
263
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jbenny2010 07/28/10 - 01:22 am
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Slim pickin's if you ask me.

Slim pickin's if you ask me. None of them seems to have any experience in running a system as large and diverse as Richmond County. And I really question the commitment of the one who didn't even bother finishing the last year of his previous contract before retiring.

Contrarian Coach
0
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Contrarian Coach 07/28/10 - 01:54 am
0
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AugustaVoter, you are right.

AugustaVoter, you are right. Roberson will get the job because he is black and close to the area. I would not be surprised if the two other candidates are more qualified, but don't get the job because they are white. As a black man, I will tell you; this will be racism directed at whites. Pitiful that it will come to that.

badassie
0
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badassie 07/28/10 - 03:40 am
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One of the first things that

One of the first things that should be sought is discipline within the system. If the candidate does not get a hold on one of the root problems then he will fail. Next is spending followed by he must weed out those just looking for a paycheck. Our children don't know what homework is. Our regular schools should be run just as Davidson and A R Johnson are being run. If we know their system works then why not run the entire system in the same manner? Every student should be college bound or taught so that he or she has a choice in life. If it had not been for a generous and caring guiddance counselor I would not have gone to college. My wife tells all her students that they should go to college and several of them have listened to her and after graduation they have come back to visit just to thank her and tell her they are in college. We need more teachers telling our students they can accomplish things in life. I hope we don't choose a Super just because he is black but we should first embrace the problems within our system and choose who will implement policies and procedures to cure those ills.

badassie
0
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badassie 07/28/10 - 03:45 am
0
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By the say discipline for our

By the say discipline for our teachers and our students. Teachers should set a positive vision for out children, by being to work on time and being responsible and dressing professional. Our students should understand that if they interrupt our classes for bullys another student or disrrupt the school in anyway they are gone. Don't make this a numbers game as it has been in the past few years. Get rid of the rif rats and others that want a good education will take their places. The rif rats include those teachers that don't want to be professional. Our military doesn't have to move to Columbia County hoping for a good education. They could do it right here in Richmond County! Nuff Said

justus4
107
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justus4 07/28/10 - 06:39 am
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0
The individual selected to
Unpublished

The individual selected to head up the RCBOE must first and far most reflect the diversity of the student body. Also included should be the historical factors involved in the regional implications that create a harmonious atmosphere for all involved. Yep, U guessed it. This is a job for U know who...

Riverman1
87593
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Riverman1 07/28/10 - 06:41 am
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0
Badassie, I agree with you,

Badassie, I agree with you, but every directive in public schools is to make problem students stay in school instead of kicking them out. Ill conceived attempts to legislate mandatory attendance laws if the teenager wants to drive and so on contribute to the problem. If someone doesn't want to be in school or is disruptive, please don't force him to stay.

As far as the selection of a Superintendent, Dr. Roberson seems like a great candidate to me. It's a plus to already understand the local area and school system.

factfinder
6
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factfinder 07/28/10 - 07:17 am
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Coach and Voter are we to

Coach and Voter are we to assume that Dr. Robinson is not qualified because he is black. Please be mindful that the committee responsible for screening the initial applications were impressed with his resume, background and interveiw. I have had the opportunity to attend an educational workshops that he conducted and I was impressed with his knowledge of educational research and genuine concern for student learning. I do feel that it is an advantage to have a superintendent who is familiar with both the strengths and weakness of the school district. You are correct to be concern about the "good ol boy system" that too many school board members and school leaders seem to perpetuate, however I don't believe that Dr. Roberson will be distracted by the politics of the district. One fact that all RC voters must be concious of at all times - WE set the tone. Whoever is selected as superintendent, the taxpayers must stay abreast of what is going on in the district and demand what is best for the entire community. Without a strong education system the community cannot grow.

Riverman1
87593
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Riverman1 07/28/10 - 07:23 am
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Nofrills, care to be specific

Nofrills, care to be specific with that personal attack?

Another plus for Dr. Roberson is that he likes living here and is unlikely to pack up and move after a couple of years. Bedden was applying for other jobs after being here for only a few months. It's disruptive to a school system to change superintendents.

lifelongresidient
0
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lifelongresidient 07/28/10 - 07:39 am
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bad, you are right on the

bad, you are right on the money, but you must understand the focus of the "esteemed" ms. venuc cain and the remaining board members isn't on education, the main goal of the school board is to secure and maintain as much power, influence and MONEY as possible. so unfortunately that will mean developing and instituting various costly, wasteful and ineffective programs for the so-called "at risk" youths (who in our day would have been just sent home to their sorry, trifling parents) in order to make sure they are counted "attending" school. by taking the focus off education ms. cain and the other members of the schools board allows the under-performing schools to continue to do so, while allowing the schools on the brink to fail also, hence making a stronger case to qualify for the "knucklehead"....ooops i mean the "race for the top" funding offered by the federal gov't. to change the school district and run all the other schools the way johnson and davidson is run would mean raising expectations for student conduct and performance, in addition mandating parental involvement, both which are key to high academic achievement, but would mean the loss os approx 30-40% of the student population, hence the loss of valuable education funding that is based on schools attendance, possible 1 or more seats on the school board because with a lowere student population, not as many schools would be needed which would equate to not as many schoold board members are needed due to the decreased size of the overall school population, not to mention by increasing academic achivevment that would disqualify the schools (within the school district) or make them ineligible to apply for the "knucklehead"...ooops i mean the federal funding under the "race to the top" program, so you see bad, it benefits the richmond county school board to have as many high school fail as possible in order to get more FEDERAL MONEY.

truthteller
0
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truthteller 07/28/10 - 07:53 am
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Don't know the other two

Don't know the other two candidates, but Dr. Roberson would be an excellent choice. He is competent, has a successful track record and cares deeply about students. Aiken County made a big mistake in not keeping him in its system.

iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 07/28/10 - 08:06 am
0
0
A white face gets you a nod

A white face gets you a nod to the front door these days.

bone1
0
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bone1 07/28/10 - 08:10 am
0
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baldwin is a very columbia

baldwin is a very columbia county-like area of south Alabama; not sure the superintendent would make a good transition to rathole like richmond co. roberson seems to have both qualities that are looked for by richmond co: black and divisive. a sure-fire winner!

redapples
672
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redapples 07/28/10 - 08:27 am
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I hope that whomever is

I hope that whomever is selected understands the fire ant mound they are entering! Interesting that the topic of conversation surrounding these candidates is race and not the success, or lack thereof, of the county schools they leave behind. I'm just saying...

aughate
0
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aughate 07/28/10 - 08:37 am
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If these are the best 3, then

If these are the best 3, then that candidate pool must have sucked!

disssman
6
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disssman 07/28/10 - 08:55 am
0
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Not having a copy of their

Not having a copy of their resumes to peruse, I could not tell you if one is better than the rest. I will say this though, we had better get someone who can bring the financial picture into perspective. Lets face it folks, we have enough educators in central office to start a small school. What we don't have is someone with money experience. The first priority of the new Super should be to rein in the out of control teachers salaries. No I am not talking about all teachers, but when the difference between people teaching the same grade, same lesson, and same class size is sometimes nearly triple the salary of one compared to the other, we have a problem.

RoadkiII
6787
Points
RoadkiII 07/28/10 - 09:36 am
0
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jbenney, Ft Worth TX isn't as

jbenney, Ft Worth TX isn't as large as A/RC??? You need to get out of the house more.

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 07/28/10 - 09:59 am
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As long as he doesn't go out

As long as he doesn't go out to the clubs, and birthday parties of a certain staff member's child then whoever he is... he will have 1/4 of the battle won...as long as he doesn't get "caught up"... we may have a chance....we don't need a repeat of the past three years especially with AYP results as they were this year...we need HELP!!!!!

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 07/28/10 - 10:45 am
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Redapples, amen to that. I

Redapples, amen to that.

I still think it's funny how so many people come on here to grumble about the school board and school system, but only a handful of people signed up to run in the upcoming election. Some board seats are even unchallenged.

It's much easier to complain than it is to work to make things better.

countyman
20730
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countyman 07/28/10 - 11:01 am
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0
Insider Information, some of

Insider Information, some of those people commenting don't even live in RC... Of course the only want to complain and not find any solutions...

AYP is nothing but a failure put forth by the Bush administration.... I know plenty of teachers who don't care for AYP....

Dana Bedden rose the graduation rate, SAT scores, and test scores in Richmond County all three years he was here.. He didn't go searching for another job until his last year. That's when some of the people in the RCBOE started dragging their feet on offering him a contract extension.. The man was simply too progressive for some of the old people.. By the time they realize people similar to Dr. Bedden don't come around too often, it was too late...

The only people bringing up race are the same people who hate on RC because it's too ''black'' for them....

Brad Owens
4749
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Brad Owens 07/28/10 - 10:58 am
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I want the dude with a stach

I want the dude with a stach like mine! Very Bandit Darvel...

countyman
20730
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countyman 07/28/10 - 11:07 am
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I have to do my research on

I have to do my research on the three candidiates before I make a decision... I do like how one of them is from FT. Worth which is a very large suburb of Dallas, TX...

edreformfan
0
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edreformfan 07/28/10 - 11:12 am
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Disssman, Teacher salaries

Disssman,
Teacher salaries are not out of control in Richmond County. They start below $30K with a College Degree (and not just a degree in "education," which you have posted about in the past) and only get above $70K after 20-something years in the system with a Masters degree. There's nothing excessive about such a pay scale. I would be more worried about excessive money being spent on building new football stadiums, tracks, etc. that could go toward improving classrooms.

Brad Owens
4749
Points
Brad Owens 07/28/10 - 11:15 am
0
0
countryman is right, this is

countryman is right, this is a RCBOE problem.

Riverman1
87593
Points
Riverman1 07/28/10 - 11:50 am
0
0
Ft. Worth is a large city in

Ft. Worth is a large city in its own right. It's a twin city with Dallas, not a suburb. It has a population of over 700,000.

KingJames
10
Points
KingJames 07/28/10 - 11:58 am
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I'm a little worried about

I'm a little worried about these finalists. None of them have had to deal with a school system this large, and probably have never had to deal with a public this trifling and distracted by race relations. Two of the candidates are used to earning $195,000, which is more than the previous superintendent's base salary of $185,000. I have a problem with Roberson being willing to leave his current job that he's only had since last year, but I do understand that he wants to be closer to home and probably won't leave this job if he is selected. Though all three gentlemen have been in education a very long time, Pugh and Hollinger are retired. They both decided to retire for their own reasons, so if either was selected to be the superintendent, I would hope they would want to do more than one term before choosing to retire again. As far as qualifications are concerned, Pugh has been a super seven times since 1983 which would make him very qualified for the job. The only problem is that he is known to have applied to be superintendent in several other school systems this year. For some reason, those school systems didn't choose him. Roberson would probably stay as long as permitted by the board. I'm just not sure about any of them.

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/28/10 - 12:13 pm
0
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But he's not the

But he's not the superintendant for Fort Worth but rather some small independent school district near fort worth.

countyman
20730
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countyman 07/28/10 - 12:14 pm
0
0
The article said Pugh was a

The article said Pugh was a finalist for the Fayette County, GA job... And he's from a very large city with diffrent races(Dallas)... I'm starting to like him even more now.... Fayette County is probably the top 1 or 3 schools systems in the entire state of GA....

puppydog
228
Points
puppydog 07/28/10 - 12:15 pm
0
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Why in the world are we

Why in the world are we rolling back the millage rate and losing over $1 million in taxes at a time when teachers are being furloughed, health insurance costs are skyrocketing & the state, county & school system are undergoing huge budget cuts. Makes no sense at all!! Very short-sighted!!

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 07/28/10 - 12:19 pm
0
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here's some facts about the

here's some facts about the Eagle Mountain Saginaw Independent School District in Texas.
http://www.emsisd.com/9821071112182337/site/default.asp

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