Leader's goals still not set

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Richmond County school board members dangled carrots in front of their new superintendent in July to usher in a new era of accountability for a much maligned school system.

But halfway through Dana Bedden's first year on the job, he and board members have yet to agree what those goals will be, something one local professor said bluntly is "bad business."

For each of the three incentives, Dr. Bedden can earn $5,000, but the goals are expected to affect more than just the superintendent.

"Whatever the goal of the superintendent is should be the goal of every teacher in the classroom and everyone in between," board President Jimmy Atkins said, adding that there is a "trickling down" effect to setting goals for Dr. Bedden.

Mr. Atkins, and other board members, downplayed the delay in establishing goals, saying they will be effective when approved.

Asked if the delay will lower the bar for the goals, Mr. Atkins said the goals he will propose for the superintendent are not "watered down." The goals will consider the progress Dr. Bedden has made in his first six months and will likely be the same goals the board would have set at his hiring.

The school board has always had a voice, but the new evaluation gives members an opportunity up front to say what they feel is important and what they want to see addressed, said Tony Arasi, director of professional development for the Georgia School Boards Association. Mr. Arasi has been working with Richmond County on the new evaluation.

Financial incentives are "absolutely" effective, but Richmond County is going about it all wrong, said Dalton Brannen, a management professor in the Augusta State University Hull College of Business.

"The people in the public sector don't have a reason to do better, so they don't," he said.

Though uncommon in the public sector, they are increasingly being used, especially in school systems where the public is looking for a turnaround, such as Richmond County, Dr. Brannen said.

But not setting goals beforehand is "bad business," he said. Doing this is problematic when a person has already accepted a job, and it's also unfair to that employee.

Richmond County school officials sidestepped the question of fairness and say the goals could be approved as soon as next week.

"Only Dr. Bedden can say whether or not they are a disadvantage to him," Mr. Atkins said.

Through his secretary, Dr. Bedden said he would not comment about the goals.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

THE BACK STORY


SCHOOL BOARD EVALUATIONS

In the waning months of former Superintendent Charles Larke's tenure, board members questioned the size of his financial incentives and the way in which they automatically triggered if he received a "satisfactory" evaluation.


That's partly why board members chose to adopt a new evaluation form when they hired Dana Bedden. The new form requires the board and superintendent to agree to goals and the evidence needed to support those goals from the outset. Under the old evaluation, there was no discussion and board members used a generic form in which they circled answers on a scale.

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jebko
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jebko 02/12/08 - 05:24 am
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Good-Bye Dana Bedden...

Good-Bye Dana Bedden...

intheknow
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intheknow 02/12/08 - 08:12 am
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I have a feeling that you

I have a feeling that you will be gone, before he is.

mojo
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mojo 02/12/08 - 09:58 am
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The flaws in this plan are

The flaws in this plan are now glaring - this guy's first year is now at best a wash - if he doesn't have clear objectives from the school board - what's he working toward? You can't measure success without goals! Now they're going to set the goals after the fact? Why bother!

KingJames
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KingJames 02/12/08 - 10:02 am
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Sounds the problem was with

Sounds the problem was with the board and not with Dr. B. Should he choose to leave, it will be because of the board itself.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 02/12/08 - 10:52 am
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I hope one of their goals is

I hope one of their goals is to get a new principal at Laney, we are in desperate need of a change there.

karmakills123
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karmakills123 02/12/08 - 10:56 am
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exactly King James......that

exactly King James......that school board has done nothing but bicker and make bad choices for years most of them wouldn't know an inteligent idea if it bit them on their behinds. You know ...("Full of sound and fury signifying nothing".)...they are there for themselves not the kids...........................sort of like the August commission.

bigbert9980
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bigbert9980 02/12/08 - 10:57 am
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Please don't get caught up in

Please don't get caught up in the chronicles twist and turn of negativety of RCBE yall should know this by now.

bigbert9980
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bigbert9980 02/12/08 - 11:01 am
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Please

Please

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 02/12/08 - 12:21 pm
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The first school year is more

The first school year is more than half gone. No goals should be applied to Dr. Bedden for this year and he should be given a satisfactory rating with no bonus money. But the school board owes it to him and to us to set up goals for the next school year so that he does have an incentive to earn a bonus for outstanding performance in the system.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 02/12/08 - 01:10 pm
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What's the status of the

What's the status of the outside audit? Seems as if an independent audit/evaluation could help the RCBOE and Dr. Bedden identify and prioritize needs. Of course, can anybody name one local school/school system that wouldn't benefit from an outside evaluation?

blessedlikedat
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blessedlikedat 02/12/08 - 01:32 pm
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Richmond County school board

Richmond County school board is a joke. I'm a parent that's very involved in my childrens education. My children attend schools in Richmond County, and I think it is time for a change at these schools. The teacher tell you at the beginning of the year that you can contact them about where your children stand as far as their grades, but that's not true. They have the web sites were you can get information, but do not utilize them. Why don't Richmond County schools use iparent like Columbia County Schools.

tired of idiots
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tired of idiots 02/12/08 - 10:39 pm
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Give me a break! You come and

Give me a break! You come and work all day with students who are lazy and sorry..... You give your all and SOME just don't want to learn. TIME is a key problem for every teacher. WHy do I have to utilize ALL of my evening time when I also have school -aged children who need me to help them with their homework or just listen to them about their day? Parents STEP UP!! if All of us worked together, this would solve half of the problem with the education system.

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