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Prognosis for Richmond County School Superintendent Frank Roberson unclear

Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 9:08 PM
Last updated Friday, Feb. 24, 2012 1:15 AM
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Exactly one year after Richmond County School Superintendent Frank Roberson underwent emergency surgery for a brain condition, school officials say it is unclear when he will be ready to return to work full time.

Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson came back to work on a limited basis Dec. 7, working no more than six hours per week.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Superintendent Dr. Frank Roberson came back to work on a limited basis Dec. 7, working no more than six hours per week.

After months of therapy and recovery, Roberson came back to work on a limited basis Dec. 7, working no more than six hours per week.

School board attorney Pete Fletcher said his schedule won’t change until Roberson is evaluated by doctors and his insurance company, but that consultation has not yet been set.

“We did not set a timetable,” Fletcher said. “That’s up to the health care provider, and that’s still where we are now.”

Roberson had surgery on Feb. 24, 2011, to correct an abnormal clustering of blood vessels on the brain called arteriovenous malformation. Doctors say the first year is critical to overall recovery.

“Usually you see the greatest percent of recovery in the first year,” said Dr. Cargill Alleyne, the chairman of the department of neurosurgery at Georgia Health Sciences University. “But that doesn’t mean they recover in a year and then stop recovering.”

Alleyne said the extent of progress varies from patient to patient. Some regain full functionality after treatment for an AVM, while others have permanent disabilities.

Alleyne and other physicians interviewed spoke about AVMs in general terms and not about Roberson’s specific case.

The amount of recovery also depends where an AVM was located on the brain, said Dr. Jennifer Yang, the director of the spinal cord injury program at Walton Rehabilitation Center, who also works with AVM patients.

For example, patients with the abnormal clustering over the Broca’s area, which controls speech production, often have to relearn how to talk and communicate. It’s possible that some never regain full speech, while others make extreme progress, Yang said.

Depending on which area of the brain was affected, she said, some people can regain full cognitive functions but have trouble with things such as swallowing.

“It really depends on the patient,” Yang said.

Mildred Nelson, a physical therapist at Walton Rehabilitation, said she has seen success stories from people recovering from an AVM.

The patients in rehabilitation normally undergo speech, occupational and physical therapy to regain basic functions.

The time a patient spends in therapy depends on the person, but Nelson also said most progress is made in the first 12 months.

“You can kind of compare it to someone who needs to lose 50 pounds,” Mildred said. “The first 30 is easy and the last 20 is not so easy. … The brain is constantly changing. The first year is where you’re going to see the most progress, but by no means does it mean progress stops then.”

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dichotomy
33040
Points
dichotomy 02/24/12 - 12:54 am
10
1
With all due respect and

With all due respect and compassion for Superintendent Roberson, but a year with temporary "fill-in" leadership is a long time for a school system. Particularly a school system with the problems ours has. I would think that it's time to talk disability retirement and start the search for a new superintendent.

If what some school board members have said is true and "nothing has suffered during Roberson's absence", then maybe we need to reconsider our need for a superintendent and their associated high salary. They can't have it both ways. We either need a superintendent on the job and working, or we don't. If "nothing has suffered" then apparently we don't. If things have suffered, like less schools making AYP, then we need to get one.

I think there is something other than common sense influencing this attitude the school board is taking to be "willing to let Roberson ride his medical leave through the length of his three-year contract, if necessary". Is that in the best interests of our kids?

AutumnLeaves
7787
Points
AutumnLeaves 02/24/12 - 01:42 am
8
1
Although he is and should

Although he is and should probably receive all due benefits as agreed by contract there is bound to be some chafing because in the real world for the rest of us mere mortals if we don't work, we don't get paid. Either we need a working superintendent or we don't, but we certainly shouldn't continue paying for one we haven't had for over a year now. I agree with the writer above, if we don't need him at work, do we really need the position at all? I do hope he does continue recovering, but our school system needs improvement now!

my.voice
4824
Points
my.voice 02/24/12 - 08:54 am
6
0
Its seriously time to move

Its seriously time to move on. Compassion is one thing, sacrifice of the children's education is not. What could he possibly accomplish 6 hours a week for a job that probably requires 60 to do it "right".

Little Lamb
46053
Points
Little Lamb 02/24/12 - 09:18 am
6
0
Roberson, as part of his

Roberson, as part of his contract, has disability insurance. But here's the thing. He is collecting his entire salary plus disability insurance at this time. That is not right. He should collect one or the other.

raul
4893
Points
raul 02/24/12 - 10:50 am
0
0
@Little Lamb. I am not sure,

@Little Lamb. I am not sure, but I do not think Roberson is collecting his entire salary plus disability insurance. I am thinking this question was raised before and the disability insurance was paying (probably with the exception of the 6hours per week he is currently working. Maybe the author of the article can address this issue. Ms. McManus?

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/24/12 - 11:10 am
1
0
not about compassion. From

not about compassion. From what I read, he was doing a fine job and was really helping the system or on the cusp of doing so. Then tragedy occurred. Reasoning it out though, there is no warrant for him to pull double-pay but only perform his duties < 7% of the time. Not sure why this was the arrangement to begin with. Now if the contract agreed to pay the man both, then you gotta pay him. But if not, then we have a problem. Glad Mr. Roberts is progressing and look forward to his return in this capacity or another. We need positive influences in the school system more than ever.

raul
4893
Points
raul 02/24/12 - 11:23 am
1
0
I sent in a request for

I sent in a request for clarification to the writer, Ms. McManus. Hopefully, she will respond on the comment board.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/24/12 - 11:27 am
2
0
I know for a fact that he is

I know for a fact that he is NOT double dipping. The disability ins. Is covering everything (salary wise) except the 6 hours. No one is getting the shaft in that regard. But sadly, I have been told that his ability to completely return at his original speed is unlikely. A report is due to the BOE shortly, and then they will likely act on it.

twolane
191
Points
twolane 02/24/12 - 01:20 pm
0
0
folks it was severe he wont
Unpublished

folks it was severe he wont be coming back for a long time if ever cognitive abilities are severely impaired time to move on

raul
4893
Points
raul 02/24/12 - 01:50 pm
0
0
Just received an reply to my

Just received an reply to my inquiry from Ms. McManus. The disability insurance is covering his absence. He is not being paid both salary and disability insurance.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 02/24/12 - 05:16 pm
0
0
thanks. accuracy counts

thanks. accuracy counts

Willow Bailey
20580
Points
Willow Bailey 02/24/12 - 07:46 pm
0
0
God bless Dr. Roberson and

God bless Dr. Roberson and his family.

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