Bad news about Bedden

Superintendent’s possible departure leaves tough choices for school board

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The last time Richmond County changed school superintendents, the school board was wrestling with how best to get rid of him -- and how expensive it might be to show him the door.

Dr. Dana Bedden, Richmond County school superintendentSPECIAL
Dr. Dana Bedden, Richmond County school superintendentSPECIAL

Now, board members are scurrying to save the one they've got, knowing how expensive it might be to keep him.

It's a much better problem. But it's still a problem.

As the board and Dr. Dana Bedden failed to get together on an extension of his first three-year contract, which expires in July, Augusta's school superintendent has become the finalist for a similar position in Irving, Texas. A statutory three-week waiting period is now under way before the job can officially be his, but all signs point to Bedden leaving.

That would be unfortunate. Dr. Bedden has brought stability, improvement and healing to a school district badly in need of all that and more.

Nor has he done it under the best of circumstances.

He came into a district rife with cronyism, acrimony, distrust and questionable financial dealings. He also came at a time when the economy required a retrenchment in services and draconian cuts in funding. The district says it has seen $74 million in cuts during his tenure. More cuts are undoubtedly on the way.

You can't blame the guy for eyeing the job in Texas, where the budget picture is not near as bad and his predecessor had a base salary of $250,000, compared to Bedden's $185,000.

He's not definitely out the door, but how can the Richmond County board match that offer at a time when teachers and other district employees are facing furloughs and worse? As popular as Bedden is, giving him a raise in the current economic climate could seriously imperil morale. And where would they take the money from?

Negotiations go both ways, and no one party is to blame in this instance. But the fact remains that the board didn't get the job done. It didn't see the danger of the competition, and act with urgency to hold onto Bedden.

Board members may wish they had nailed down Bedden's contract months ago. They may kick themselves if he leaves.

A line may form behind them.

Comments (22) Add comment
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Junket831
0
Points
Junket831 02/20/10 - 11:40 pm
0
0
While the AC has it right

While the AC has it right about Bedden's qualities as Superintendent for RCBE, it makes no sense whatsoever to give him a raise when all others working for him are taking pay cuts or potentially loosing their jobs. Last time I checked he works in the public sector, not on Wall Street. It also isn't fair to ask him to stay with no raise at all. So, that leaves it to him to follow his heart and family wishes. He can chase the dollars or he can figure out a way to stay and be a leader for the long run. Since he has no ties to our community it will be much easier for him to leave. He is not so talented that he can't be replaced. Someone like him is out there and is hungry to get a shot at a bigger district. If Dr. Bedden stays that will be great, but if he goes, lets go find a good replacement eager to make their mark.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 02/21/10 - 01:18 am
0
0
We found a great

We found a great superintendent for $185k, we should be able to find one for $110k or $60k that's just as good. Yeah, that's the type of reasoning we need. All of those other school boards are just being stupid offering a proven winner more money , not like the really smart RCBOE.

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 02/21/10 - 05:38 am
0
0
Well, I believe that Dr.

Well, I believe that Dr. Bidden has shown that he really doesn't want to stay in Augusta. Dead issue. Hire another Superintendent! There must be a few out there that would easily qualify and be willing to accept a salary in line with what Dr, Bedden now receives (or even less). It is time to begin your the search for another candidate; and don't worry, I am confidant that you will find a well qualified candidate quickly. And, if not, I'll apply, I'm certified and qualified; and heck I'd do the job for 2/3's of Dr. Bedden's salary. But, HEY, forget it, there is really no way I would want the position. GGpap

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 02/21/10 - 05:46 am
0
0
Well, I believe that Dr.

Well, I believe that Dr. Bidden has shown that he really doesn't want to stay in Augusta. Dead issue. Hire another Superintendent! There must be a few out there that would easily qualify and be willing to accept a salary in line with what Dr, Bedden now receives (or even less). It is time to begin your the search for another candidate; and don't worry, I am confidant that you will find a well qualified candidate quickly. If not, I'll apply, I'm certified and qualified; and heck, I'd do the job for 2/3's of Dr. Bedden's salary. But, HEY, forget it, there is really no way I would want the position. GGpap

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 02/21/10 - 05:49 am
0
0
Sorry for the double entry,

Sorry for the double entry, blame the AC techs for this, GGpap

overburdened_taxpayer
117
Points
overburdened_taxpayer 02/21/10 - 07:29 am
0
0
I have told my employers that

I have told my employers that I would rather take some furlough days than see fellow employees lose jobs. For all I know, I could be one of those let go if it came to it. But to give someone a raise when cutting everyone else's is just stupid. No one is irreplaceable. Let him go, he doesn't really care about anything but the bottom line. And isn't that what all you people dispise about corporate America?

ldsmith1
1
Points
ldsmith1 02/21/10 - 07:37 am
0
0
The cost of living in Dallas

The cost of living in Dallas is far higher than in Augusta. I'm not so sure that $65k will make a huge difference in the Bedden family lifestyle.

glassrinkmaker
0
Points
glassrinkmaker 02/21/10 - 08:15 am
0
0
I notice how you said he did

I notice how you said he did great things---why didn't you mention some of them. Also cutting a blaoated budget is not that difficult. Reading your article one would surmize, he was the only super who had to reduce a budget!!!!

justus4
113
Points
justus4 02/21/10 - 08:39 am
0
0
Why does the local printing
Unpublished

Why does the local printing operation continue to fail to properly identify problems especially with minority citizens, which produce the ignorant comments from U know what? Dr Bedden decison is NOT ALL about MONEY!! What does it take to get enlightment? Wow! Family considerations and quality of life issues must be considered, along with cultural activities and personal enjoyment, not the amount of money. Why keep dwelling on a non-issue? Unless, that's the image U want to impress on the small-mined...good job, because that in part, is probably why the district will be posting, "Help Wanted."

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 02/21/10 - 09:09 am
0
0
I believe the kind of leader

I believe the kind of leader we want understands there will be stringent times and can see the big picture, while sticking to the plan. He also has to understand his employees are for him to take care of as well as discipline and set goals for. To be one who jumps at the offer of a little money is not a positive character trait. When we hire our next superintendent, let’s question him/her about long term goals of staying here.

Notice Bedden has moved around the country seeking a little higher salary each time. He is flamboyant and shakes things up for awhile, but he isn’t prepared to stick to a system and actually show results that keep improving over the years.

atsugua13
0
Points
atsugua13 02/21/10 - 09:28 am
0
0
Idsmith what does the Bedden

Idsmith what does the Bedden lifestyle have to do with the matter at hand? Focus on the problem not on the nonsolution

msyama2
0
Points
msyama2 02/21/10 - 10:00 am
0
0
People let's remember we are

People let's remember we are the reason Bedden was looking for a job in the first place. If you hire someone on a three year contract do you expect them to wait until ( we) decide at the end of his three yr tenure, not to keep him for him to seek other employment. Why not consider the next time making the contract a five year and then the person may feel vested enough to consider staying. So don't fault Bedden he has a family to support...

avidreader
3558
Points
avidreader 02/21/10 - 10:21 am
0
0
Although I admire Dr. Bedden,

Although I admire Dr. Bedden, I am not fearful of his departure. What scares me is, who will replace him? If indeed, we need a super who has a thumb on the pulse of the community, the pickings are slim. Hopefully, we can hire a person with integrity and keen political savy -- a person who will force children to understand that a lack of civility is not an excuse to disrupt our schools. Bedden has set the standard for success, and now we need someone who will follow through with the challenges Bedden has in place. What we do not need is a leader who cowtows to the whiners and armchair quarterbacks.

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 02/21/10 - 10:35 am
0
0
msyama2, Bedden and everyone

msyama2, Bedden and everyone else knew he was going to be offered another contract. Bedden tried to use that as an excuse for why he is leaving, but the truth is that he had his name out for consideration at other places almost from the time he got here. He simply looks for better paying positions constantly and that's a leadership character flaw in my opinion. Oh, what about his and Deke's charity that is going to be here for decades? Employees were supposed to trust him and contribute to that while he hits I-20 west?

thewiz0oz
9
Points
thewiz0oz 02/21/10 - 10:53 am
0
0
$250,000.00 is a bargain to

$250,000.00 is a bargain to keep Bedden in Augusta. "If You Think Education Is Expensive Look At The Cost Of Ignorance." Our BOE should have begin this process two years ago & he could have been retained for less. Incompetent elected officials have little or no vision. Charles Larke cost us significantly more than what it would cost to retain Bedden. The future opportunities of employees of the RCBOE are dependent on a seasoned & qualified leader being in place. To find a competent replacement would take at least two years considering that good people already have a good job. Wake-up Augusta & smell the coffee -- our in-adequate education system didn't occur overnight and won't be resolved by us sitting on our hands & wondering what happened.

crackerjack
153
Points
crackerjack 02/21/10 - 11:10 am
0
0
I think Dr. Bedden is making

I think Dr. Bedden is making the best choice for him and his family. It's not wrong to better yourself, and creat a better living environment for you and your family.
When there is a three year contract, you don't wait till the last minute to offer an extension, just as Dr. Bedden can't wait until the last minute to look for future employment. Someone has dropped the ball and it wasn't Dr. Bedden.

ldsmith1
1
Points
ldsmith1 02/21/10 - 12:09 pm
0
0
13-My point is, I doubt that

13-My point is, I doubt that the pay increase is the only factor at play in Bedden's decision-making process. An offer from Dallas at even 100k more than his current salary won't make a big difference in his financial bottom line. To say he is just "chasing the dollars" is a failure to identify the real problems. I agree with crackerjack. If the RCBOE didn't assure him of a job, he had every right to start looking elsewhere.

lylagirl
1
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lylagirl 02/21/10 - 12:21 pm
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0
So folks let us begin looking

So folks let us begin looking for our true leader and let this man do what is best for him and his family....let it go...shucks...let him go...change the channel PLEASE!

Laguria
0
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Laguria 02/21/10 - 02:36 pm
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0
Hiring a new supe is going to

Hiring a new supe is going to cost a lot of money. Bringing in and interviewing the candidates, moving expenses and a number of other incidentials could possibly be more than the difference between his existing salary and his new salary. Not to mention not having a supe for an extended period of time. This city has a real problem with not beng proactive.

corgimom
38321
Points
corgimom 02/21/10 - 06:35 pm
0
0
When it comes to employment

When it comes to employment contracts, you don't "know" anything until you see the contract in print. Because if everyone "knew" they were going to extend the contract, why did they not offer him one? Blame RCBOE, not him.

hickstreetlane
0
Points
hickstreetlane 02/21/10 - 09:03 pm
0
0
DR FRAZIER FOR SUPER!!He is

DR FRAZIER FOR SUPER!!He is at Glenn Hills High so he is not far. No moving expense. Retired Military so he has a check coming in already. He is da man! Rude crude and probably get him for cheap. He can sing the "anti-barney song" to the board; I hate you, you hate me, lets go ahead and screw Richmond County.

amswygart
0
Points
amswygart 02/21/10 - 09:13 pm
0
0
I am typing on behalf of my

I am typing on behalf of my father. Dr. Dana Bedden is comparing his salary to Columbia County. Columbia County is a thriving county where the majority of people are tax payers whereas Richmond County is made up of mainly non tax payers. If he wants to take the job in Texas, then so be it. Have Dr. Frazier run for the Superintendent job. He cleaned up the wayward schools that we were having problems with. I fear if we continue to add more furlough days, all the good teachers will find jobs else where and the non-experienced teachers will be hired to take over which will result in students not graduating. My father is 71 soon to be 72 yrs of age and is still paying school taxes. All of his children have long graduated and have families of their own. So why does he still have to pay for the school taxes?

hickstreetlane
0
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hickstreetlane 02/21/10 - 09:26 pm
0
0
AMEN amsygart. I dont know

AMEN amsygart. I dont know your dad but I like him already. Too much PC going on around Richmond County. Frazier will kick rear ends! With Frazier what you see is what you get. Give him a three year contract. By that time he will be ready to retire ( and probably want to after dealing with some of the RC idiots (IMHO). He get three years to really shake up the place. Plus he aint on a "trim" hunt (Cuz Gloria would kick his rear end)!

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