Bedden secures $15,000 bonus

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Richmond County Superintendent Dana Bedden "reached or made substantial progress" on the goals set by the school board, earning him a $15,000 bonus, according to a statement released Friday afternoon.

Dr. Bedden's contract stipulates that he can earn $5,000 for each of three goals established by the board. With the performance pay, his contract is worth about $230,000. In all, he was given six goals.

His predecessor, Charles Larke, was paid $323,420.14 his last year as superintendent, according to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts. Dr. Larke's bonuses were automatic as long as he received a satisfactory evaluation.

Dr. Bedden is on vacation and was unavailable for comment.

Alex Howard, the chairman of the board's human resources committee, commended the superintendent for the leadership he demonstrated.

"I was very impressed with his first year," Mr. Howard said. "In order to change this system, it's going to take some hard work and it's going to take some time."

Because it was Dr. Bedden's first year, Mr. Howard said it was premature to hold him to numerical goals. Instead, the board evaluated him on his overall leadership, such as the midyear decision to make Dr. Wayne Frazier the principal of Tubman Middle School. In a few months, the school turned around enough to meet federal standards under No Child Left Behind.

Those are the successes expected, and those are the successes Dr. Bedden can produce, Mr. Howard said.

When the board meets to discuss goals for the coming year, he said the board owes it to taxpayers to set specific numeric benchmarks.

State law allows superintendent evaluations to be confidential. However, Dave Dunaway, the attorney for The Augusta Chronicle , said actions involving taxpayer money must be voted on in public.

The board met twice behind closed doors in July, but didn't return to award the bonuses publicly. If challenged within 90 days, Dr. Bedden's bonuses could be voided, Mr. Dunaway said.

Board attorney Pete Fletcher agreed that financial actions must be taken in public, but he said that in this case there's no need for another vote because the financial incentives already had been publicly approved in connection to Dr. Bedden's contract a year ago.

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

THE GOALS


The Richmond County school board evaluated Dr. Bedden, not on numerical goals, but on his leadership.


THE SIX GOALS FOR HIS EVALUATION:


1. Student achievement


2. Systemic improvement


3. Organization structure


4. Human resource management


5. Financial and operational management


6. Community relations


THE INCENTIVE-BASED GOALS:


- Development of a student achievement benchmark system


- Involvement in community relations

- Development of a process to improve department and school performance


SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT ADDS TO HIS EARNINGS


During his first year as Richmond County schools chief, Dana Bedden received the maximum annual pay outlined in his three-year contract.


$185,000 - Guaranteed base pay


$215,000 - Base pay plus fringe benefits, annuities and travel allowances

$230,000 - Maximum value, with incentive pay

Comments (43) Add comment
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i.b.e.w..electric
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i.b.e.w..electric 08/02/08 - 04:49 am
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why

why

twman
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twman 08/02/08 - 06:10 am
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He gets a bonus for doing a

He gets a bonus for doing a job he was hired to do in the first place. One reason your property taxes are going up.In most peoples jobs if they dont perform they get fired. Also no severence package to go along with that.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 08/02/08 - 06:30 am
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Dr Bedden gets paid a base

Dr Bedden gets paid a base salary for doing his job and gets incentive bonuses for specific goals reached... also part of his contract. If he doesn't perform up to minimum standards, he too will be fired. I see no reason for complaint here. All of this is laid out in his contract. Dr Bedden is doing a wonderful job at this point, 1000 times better then anything Larke did, and has only been here 1 year. Let the man do his job. A-RC school systems need a tremendous amount of work and it's not an enviable job.

HYPOCRITES 08
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HYPOCRITES 08 08/02/08 - 07:12 am
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Thanks PT. Like any of them

Thanks PT. Like any of them would give up a bonus. Why not ask the CEO of all the companies that failed why they accepted a bonus. This is a non issue.

vessel
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vessel 08/02/08 - 07:39 am
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Congratulations to Dr.

Congratulations to Dr. Bedden! I am looking forward to him being selected Superintendent of the Year! He not only moved this district forward, he also took time to mentor other Superintendents throughout the country!

johnpaulquincy
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johnpaulquincy 08/02/08 - 08:07 am
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Made it to work on time 50%

Made it to work on time 50% of the time---goal met, 5K. How about some REALISTIC GOALS, like improving test scores, reducing truency rates, increasing graduation rates---goals like that!!! HMMMMMMMMMM, to hard, let's lower the goals" expectations, OKAY!!!!! The US education system for the last 45--55 yrs!

ldsmith1
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ldsmith1 08/02/08 - 08:12 am
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I am glad to see so many

I am glad to see so many positive remarks on this article. As usual, PT summed it up well. Richmond County schools finally have strong leadership.

crackertroy
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crackertroy 08/02/08 - 08:20 am
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I don't think $230K is enough
Unpublished

I don't think $230K is enough for trying to fix that mess!

crackertroy
540
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crackertroy 08/02/08 - 08:22 am
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Based on the last
Unpublished

Based on the last superintendent, I believe 100K must be for speaking coherent intelligible English.

brotruthdoc
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brotruthdoc 08/02/08 - 08:27 am
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Thanks PT as well for your

Thanks PT as well for your comments. I concur Dr. Bedden deserves a bonus. Look at all these companies CEO who are living wonderful lifestyles as employees get laid off. Richmond county schools are great schools, with gifted kids, and dedicated teachers who accept the challenge to educate our kids. Change does not happen overnight and some people are just to darn ignorant to understand that. His goals will become more realistic in the future, but he has to start somewhere and he has done an excellent job thus far. Besides, the American educational system as a whole is broken and is in desperate need of overhauling. We have all the riches but our educational system lags behind some third world countries.

aaa
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aaa 08/02/08 - 08:47 am
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First year. Long way to go.

First year. Long way to go. Takes time to turn around an aircraft carrier . . . especially when Larke turned out all of the lights and dumped the fuel. But I would like to see substantial progress by the 3rd year.

Bored in GA
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Bored in GA 08/02/08 - 08:49 am
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I am not sure 1 year makes

I am not sure 1 year makes you the MAN! That is $15,000. that our kids do not get the benefit from, but his child goes to "private" school on our $$$$. So hang in there Bedden you have another bonus coming...I am sure!

Farful
7
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Farful 08/02/08 - 08:58 am
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Nothing to debate here. If

Nothing to debate here. If the man was promised bonus pay, he gets it.

nightcop
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nightcop 08/02/08 - 09:08 am
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Congrats Dr. Bedden! You

Congrats Dr. Bedden! You deserve every penny.

ConsiderThis
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ConsiderThis 08/02/08 - 09:16 am
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Bored in GA he also lives in

Bored in GA he also lives in Richmond County and has a child who attended Tutt this year. So what is your point?

enana03
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enana03 08/02/08 - 09:26 am
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Dr. Bedden is definitely an

Dr. Bedden is definitely an improvement over the crook we had. I feel he deserved the bonus, but at the same time, we are in crisis trying to balance the budget and the end result is that the taxpayer will have to dig even deeper.

ITDoc
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ITDoc 08/02/08 - 09:52 am
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The time to complain about

The time to complain about the bonus is when the contract was offered. Congrats Dr Bedden, make those stips!

scooter32
10
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scooter32 08/02/08 - 09:54 am
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Considerthis, I AGREE WITH

Considerthis, I AGREE WITH YOU 100%. Bored in GA needs to check her references before she posts comments like that. His son didn't go to private school, he did attend Tutt Middle School. He bought his home in Richmond County because it was said that he didn't want to live in Columbia County and pay taxes to them, when he could live Richmond County and his taxes benefits Richmond County. I feel that by him choosing to work and live in the same county was a good decision!

nextstep
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nextstep 08/02/08 - 10:03 am
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Dr. Bedden walked into a

Dr. Bedden walked into a mess! He has started the process of cleaning up the mess. He is holding staff accountable. No superintend has ever engaged the community like he has, think way back past Lark. The changes he has made and will make will only enhance our school system. Something to think about! When we are sick we go to the doctor. He tells you have high blood pressure. The doctor prescribes medication for you to take daily. As a patient you have two options take the meds or suffer the outcome. Well I follow my doctor orders and most of you reading this paper follow your doctor orders. I would suggest we follow our school doctor orders and watch the healing process began. Continue the good work Dr. Bedden!

msmoh2
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msmoh2 08/02/08 - 10:08 am
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I am so happy that Dr. Bedden

I am so happy that Dr. Bedden had a successful year, but what about the people who helped him get there. High performing teachers, administrators, and students should be the ones recieving the praises because without them there would be no improvements. Where are their bonus checks. Dr. Bedden did not do it on his own.

patel99
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patel99 08/02/08 - 10:19 am
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Great Job !

Great Job !

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 08/02/08 - 10:23 am
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As a retired public school

As a retired public school teacher who worked under much-less-than-inspiring superintendents in Richmond and Columbia counties, I can appreciate the confidence-inspiring leadership provided by Dr. Bedden in Richmond County and Mr. Nagle in Columbia County.

nicsmom
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nicsmom 08/02/08 - 10:37 am
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I agree that Dr. Bedden is

I agree that Dr. Bedden is doing a good job trying to straighten out the mess RC schools are in but I have a hard time swallowing the fact that he is getting a $15,000 bonus when there aren't enough textbooks, computers, etc for the classrooms.

JustMe
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JustMe 08/02/08 - 10:40 am
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Truancy???? I believe that

Truancy???? I believe that would be the parents responsibility along with tardiness and studying so you can graduate. I am sure the principle of the school mentioned will also get a good rating and bonus

tonytonytony
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tonytonytony 08/02/08 - 11:03 am
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I think he failed number 1.

I think he failed number 1. How many 8th graders in rc failed the math test not once but twice. He might deserve a bonus if he runs off some 8th grade math teachers. Maybe the test was in spanish or maybe it needed to be.

North Richmond County
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North Richmond County 08/02/08 - 12:07 pm
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I have a cousin who attends

I have a cousin who attends ARC. Which has the of the best IB programs in the nation. Keep up the good work Dr. Bedden. Don't sweat these haters.
Tonytonytony how many columbia county 8th graders failed the math test not once but twice. And they have less than half of the shools RC does. You can't save every student.

RichmondCountyResident1
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RichmondCountyResident1 08/02/08 - 12:30 pm
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I totally agree that Dr.

I totally agree that Dr. Bedden has done a fine job and deserves the bonus stated in his contract. I don't agree with the cheap shot taken at Dr, Larke, who also followed the parameters of his contract. Dr. Larke presided over building our school facilities (including the nice central office), up to twenty first century standards. As cited by a independent review board, the school needs improving, but is not broken. Dr. Bedden is off to a great start, but a decent infastruture was already in place. Now we need to get the delinquent parents to step up to the plate.Congrats Dr, Bedden.

DeborahElliott2
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DeborahElliott2 08/02/08 - 12:45 pm
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At least this man earned the

At least this man earned the honest pay he gets, something Larke didn't do and the RBOE still has to pay him cause they refuse to give him a negative feedback when everyone else in the County did so. What a waste!

thingsneedtochange
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thingsneedtochange 08/02/08 - 12:50 pm
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Amen Nicsmom. The schools

Amen Nicsmom. The schools need computers and resources. Half of the teachers at these schools does not have a working computer in their classroom and the ones that do well the computers had not been updated since 98. To add insult to injury the people being paid the least got their pay cut because of budget problems. Hmmm, sound fair to me that Bedden received a bonus for doing his job (sarcasm and don't hand me the life isn't fair stuff). Why don't everyone receive a bonus for doing their jobs heck that would be quite an incentive and that would make this "bonus" situation fair. Either everyone receives the opportunity to receive a bonus or none do. Isn't that what most people teach their children?

RichmondCountyResident1
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RichmondCountyResident1 08/02/08 - 01:06 pm
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The only thing Larke was

The only thing Larke was guilty of, was making too much money. The school board signed off on his pay and got off scot free.

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