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BoE fiscal policies: Too little, too late

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter to the editor was signed by long-time members of the Fayette County Board of Education, Bob Todd and Marion Key. Key is running unopposed for reelection this year.]

During the Fayette County Board of Education meeting on June 18, the 2012-2013 budget passed by a vote of 3-2, with Marion Key and Bob Todd strongly opposed to the budget as presented.

We have had many community members ask us why we don’t support the budget; so we have outlined some of the key concerns in this letter.

Due to a significant financial crisis, the FCBOE is at a crucial point — a point where tough decisions must be made to ensure the fiscal viability of our education system.

Unfortunately, this year’s budget — for the second year in a row — pulls millions of dollars from the system’s financial reserves. This is akin to paying expected monthly household bills with savings intended for a rainy day.

The glaring question is, why is this being done for the second year?

The answer is that the new superintendent came on board in January of 2011 and proposed using $11 million of reserves with the understanding that a plan to cut expenses and reduce this use of reserves would be presented to the board in the fall. This never happened.

This current budget year calls for reserves of $15 million to be used to cover normal and expected expenses. These two budget cycles reduce our reserves from $26 million as of June 20, 2011 to a projected $800,000 on June 30, 2013.

The reality is that we are a year behind in our decision making — we should have made the tough decisions to cut more, close more, do more months ago.

The biggest cost savings can be realized by closing under-utilized schools.

The community understands this. In the 2011 community survey, the respondents preferred closing schools to cutting programs and services to students, but the board did not follow the community imperative. We are now reduced to fiscal crisis management.

The Fayette County Board of Education is a corporate body which is tasked with being a good steward of the resources entrusted to us by the community.

As such, individual board members are responsible for the financial well-being of the district.

Board members have the authority to accept, modify and or reject recommendations of the superintendent in financial matters. They may also submit alternate recommendations to the Board for consideration.

We do not feel that the administration’s last two years of budget preparation, planning, and oversight has allowed board members to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers of this county.

It also further weakens our ability to maintain a financially viable and quality school district.

In the coming weeks, we will be discussing a proposal by the Superintendent to close and consolidate schools for the 2013-2014 academic year. Again, unfortunately, the proposal is too little, too late and only results in $1.8 million in savings.

The Board has discussed other options including a more aggressive approach that would realize $4.8 million in savings which is still far short of where we need to be.

We are calling on our fellow board members, system employees, and community members to join us in aggressively advocating for immediate changes to realize savings for this year and deep, strategic cuts for next year that maximize student educational opportunities and make the most of our limited resources.

Our next board workshop to discuss these matters is Aug. 6.

Marion Key, Post 3

Bob Todd, Post 4



Much of what is written here makes sense. But, I am confused. Why did Key and Todd BOTH vote to extend the superintendent's contract for an additional 3 years? This newspaper reported that 5-0 vote on June 19th. If Key and Todd believe what they write in the letter above, why didn't they speak out against the superintendent's leadership and vote against his contract renewal?

Furthermore, Key and Todd both have supported cuts to employee pay and benefits. Why aren't they promoting cuts to some of the needless programs and unnecessary positions that plague the school system? Want to know what these are - just ask almost any employee.

Key and Todd are right. Schools have to be closed. It will be interesting to see if they will really vote to do so. So far, their chief approach has just been to save money by taking it from the employee's wallets.

NUK_1's picture

Extending "kick the can down the road another year" Bearden was a huge mistake, one that both Key and Todd voted for doing. They both have a history of being rather cantankerous in the media and then being sort of pushovers when the rubber hits the road. Obviously they NOW say that some(or a lot) of cuts should have been made already(duh!), but they went ahead and voted to extend the guy most responsible for simply putting it off for another year. FAIL.

While the incompetence of the BOE Finance Dir can at least be "credited" for causing Bearden some problems in devising a strategic plan to deal with the utter financial disaster or not being 100% aware, he should have known coming into the job that it was going to require some painful decisions right away. He passed on that and all 5 board members let him and rewarded him with a contract extension for kicking that can down the road a little further.

I think NUK_1 has assessed the situation well. Todd and Key talk BIG, but do little (except rob the employees of the school district).

Americanpatriots is totally wrong. We are supposed to believe that Todd and Key voted to extend the superintendent's contract (which was one and one-half years away from expiring) so they could fire him later? Nonsense. Why didn't Todd and Key at least call for a postponement of the vote? Why didn't they publicly state what they have written in this letter?

The superintendent NOW has a contract until June 2015. Anyone who believes that ending that contract "for cause" means you can fire him because you don't like the way he handles his job, is extremely ill-formed. If you have followed school board politics in this state, you would clearly know that is not true. "For cause" has a very, very narrow definition. Dr. Bearden may not be brilliant, but he is not stupid enough to jeopadize his job. In fact, it appears he clearly outwitted Todd and Key by securing it until June 2015.

The vote for superintendent had to be unanimous. Two of the five had to compromise for that to happen. The issue to extend his contract was a stall tactic to distract the public from the real issues. Since he can be terminated, why not just extend the contract (give the 3 amigos what they want)and continue to focus on the real issue? That is what happened..... stall tactic DENIED.

Also, all the school closing stuff (pitting communities against each other) is just another distraction from the real issues. If you would take the time to talk to teachers (and parents) at Hood and FI, you would find that most you speak to actually WANT to move to the new school.

duplicate - see #10 above.

suggarfoot's picture

that is one of the few good things I've heard so far. Some of the parents want to move to the empty school, Rivers. It has been empty how many years?

I agree this pitting neighborhoods against each other needs to stop. Pandering to PTOs at ..some schools. for votes is just plain wrong and hurtful. I'm very disgusted with Hollowell, Smith, and Smola for doing that.

Some of the parents DON'T want to move to the empty school too......

suggarfoot's picture

I would love to see ALL the parents be given a voice.

suggarfoot's picture

that is one of the few good things I've heard so far. If some of the parents want to move to the empty school, Rivers, that is good. It has been empty how many years?

I agree this pitting neighborhoods against each other needs to stop. I'm very disgusted with Hollowell, Smith, and Smola for doing that.

NO, the vote to extend the superintendent's contract did NOT have to be unanimous. It is certainly not always unanimous in other school districts. NO, the superintendent cannot just be terminated.

And IF the superintendent's contract had to be unanimous, then all the more reason for Key and Todd to vote against it. They could have defended such a vote by stating what they have stated in this letter. But, as NUK_1 has stated, these 2 board members don't vote the way they talk.

Make no mistake, I don't like Smith, Smola, and Presberg. But I am saying that Key and Todd are a big problem also.

Wildcat, I usually agree with you, but we have to part ways on this one. The school board needs 5 new board members.

Veritas's picture

The vote to HIRE Bearden is what wildcat was speaking of. The contract issue was another matter. Boneheaded decision, yes. I also understand Key and Todd's reasoning. Also, remember Bearden can be fired with due cause.
And once again you can't keep up. Todd and Key tried to keep the contracted time for the vote on Bearden's renewal..after the new board would take over. Smith,Smola and Presberg pushed for it to be done before the sitting of the new board ( 3-2). I think you better start paying closer attention.

Listen to the audio of the June 18th school board meeting (posted on school board web site). Todd and Key voted for the superintendent's contract extension; furthermore, they did NOT state ANY displeasure with the superintendent during the discussion.

Veritas's picture

Where did I state Todd and Key didn't vote for Beardens contract??? I Said it Was "Boneheaded".That's your problem you jump in with out facts, without reading and without comprehension. You have consistently made erroneous statements here today. You Ain't Right!! ;-)

I agree that Todd and Key are a part of the problem. I don't like the other 3 board members either, but I am amazed at how little Todd and Key do (besides talk).

Not only did Todd and Key vote to extend the superintendent's contract, but year after year they have voted to renew the contracts of other incompetent school personnel. The Deputy Superintendent, the Bus Director, the Comptroller, the Assistant Superintendent (and others) - Todd and Key have never voted against extending the contact of any of these people. We would all be better off with new people in those positions.

Then, just a few weeks ago I read where Todd and Key supported keeping full time assistant principals at the two smallest elementary schools. A sensible cost saving measure had been introduced to cut the assistant principal positions in those schools to part time (because of low enrollment). Key and Todd (and the other 3 board members) cost the taxpayers over $100,000 (cost of the salary and benefits of adding another half time position at each school) by refusing to support that proposal.

There has been much mention of the 3 amigos on this blog (first, they were Smith, Smola, and Wright and now Smith, Smola, and Presberg). The problem isn't JUST the 3 amigos, it is the 3 amigos (Smith, Smola, Presberg) and the 2 amigos (Todd and Key). The 2 groups may hate each other, but it would be a great improvement if all 5 were gone. And IF they would take the superintendent with them (the one that Smith, Smola, Key, and Todd have TWICE approved a contract for), the situation would improve even more. Maybe we could have a silly string parade as all 6 exit.

NUK_1's picture

Key couldn't even bother to show up for a vote on the school budget a few years ago and also thinks she can walk into any of our schools at any time and start telling everyone what to do. Not the biggest problem on the BOE, but not the solution either.

Liking the Silly String idea too, LOL.

Veritas's picture

"Then, just a few weeks ago I read where Todd and Key supported keeping full time assistant principals at the two smallest elementary schools." Boy, you people can't read or just blindly run in without checking. Todd voted AGAINST making those positions full-time. Also, they both wanted to eliminate some of those NON state funded AP positions and Bearden ,Smith, Smola and Presberg did not even want to consider looking at those positions. (Hollowell stated the same in a resent forum). I hope you are aware that the board can only vote on the superintendent's recommendation as far as employment (teachers, principals Assistant Principals, Assistant Superintendent's) not the individuals.The only position in which they ( the board) have that power over is the Superindent's.

Actually, the board must approve every person hired in the Fayette School system. Commonly, a list (with names of individuals) is publicly presented to the board. BUT, a board member can ask to vote on individuals separately (i.e., rather than as part of a list).

Veritas's picture

Actually..The board or a single board member CANNOT FIRE ANYONE WITHOUT THE SUPERINTENDENTS RECOMMENDATION. The responsibility of recommending the hiring and/or firing lies with the superintendent . The board can only act on the superindent's recommendation.

I think YOU are missing the point. No, the board cannot fire employees; BUT they do vote on hiring EVERY one of them. When is the last time Todd and Key voted against the contract of those that they know are incompetent (they didn't even vote against the superintendent last month)?

My point is, as several others have also argued, their votes don't match their talk. They complain, but don't do nearly as much as they should and could do rectify the situation. There has been much talk on the blogs about 3-2 votes, the truth is there have been plenty of 5-0 votes that were clearly wrong.

Veritas's picture

True the board member could randomly pull a name off the recommended hire list and vote No. But here is where your logic fails. From whom does the performance evaluation of the employee come... That's right the Superintendent..(or via principal if it is a teacher/school staff). Now if a board member acted independently from the superintendents hiring recommendation ...would you open yourself up to the litigation. Could you justify your decision in court? That is what happened with Clayton county. Now other than this boneheaded decision on Bearden's contract the vast majority of the important and controversial votes have been 3-2 the 5-0 votes you refer have been on mundane day to day clerical votes... Have you actually attended any Board meetings? I have and when I haven't I have kept up from meeting minutes until podcast .. Which I Do listen to.

But again we can't always see eye to eye ;-)

Just for example, the unanimous vote to select Presberg as the 5th member of the BOE--I remain amazed at how they all could ignore the outstanding qualifications of Bonnie Willis,which would not only have properly honored an outstanding volunteer candidate but absolutely neutered that NAACP lawsuit.

Veritas's picture

Hindsight is 20/20. I agree poor choice and laps of due diligence. But when the appointment came most everyone even the public was praising the choice (albeit based on padded and insinuated experience and resume)..

I too personally wish Bonnie Willis would have been the choice.

You are right. It is majority rules for both hiring and extending. I just made a call to ask why they voted the way they did. This is what I was told:
They did not want the focus to be on Beardon's contract but to be on the budget. They know that he can be fired (majority rule) with due cause (balanced budget).

Veritas's picture

Actually, if you had been keeping up to date both Todd and Key have promoted cuts in excess positions and programs since 2005 but Wright ,Smith and Smola voted on Decotis's proposals in the past. ( history of 3-2 votes)They have offered various ideas to the current admin and board to the same result. I really wish that when people decide to start jumping in that they would get facts straight and should have been paying attention the whole time this mess began to surface. Todd himself started the alarm before 2005 in that if some precautions and changes were not implemented soon he warned of the financial crisis on the horizon and that the system needed to focus on our financial future. Smith, Smola and Wright along with Neil Sullivan all jumped up and down about how Dr.Todd didn't know what he was talking about and that Fayette was the model of fiscal success and financially sound.He warned again in 2008 to the same out cry and result. Go back and check the record.

NUK_1's picture

I don't think Todd and Key are the problem, but I've never been convinced they were part of of the solution either. For a while they have been the only 2 opposed to SOME of the Smith/Smola+alternating goofs, but they aren't blameless by any means.

Veritas's picture

I agree , somewhat. But I seriously doubt you have attended many if any Board meetings. I have been following FCBOE ups and downs since the days of Jerry Stinchcomb.

suggarfoot's picture

I remember Dr Todd was so disgusted, he had decided not to run for re election. Then Dr Tolbert stepped forward and there was hope of pulling us ot of this. Todd stayed on to may a difference. For a short while, that did happen. But when you are sitting there with a loud mouth who wants to constantly control the conversation, it is very hard. I can remember some very strong comments that were passed at the meetings between Smola and Dr Todd.

When Dr Todd ran last time, I remember hearing him speak. He stated quite plainly that the overbuilding had put us in a position it will takes years to change. "And the band played on"

Thanks for the details on past history here.

Did Decotis propose any financial adjustments to policy to stave off the pending financial crisis? Just curious what he may done or proposed differently from Dr. Bearden.

Politics and historical votes aside - this is a situation that has to be corrected immediately. Whether the answer is closing multiple schools (3, 4, 5 or even more), raising more money - I don't know. I'm just curious what solutions have been proposed previously by any BOE member or Dr. Decotis that could have stopped this. And - do these proposals still have merit today?

Thanks again for your comments.

americanpatriots's picture

Obviously, you never read Bearden’s contract.

If you had bothered to request a copy of Bearden’s contract, as permitted by the Ga Open Records Act, you would have learned that he can be terminated at any time without notice for cause and without it costing the taxpayers a dime. After I read the contract, I understood why Dr. Todd and Marion Key voted to extend his contract. Incidentally, he did not get a three-year extension. Again, had you read his contract, you would have learned the truth.

In my view, Bearden was an absolutely bad mistake but I have to admit that I supported the BoE’s choice. Sometimes you are right and sometimes you are wrong.

Bearden knew that a new elected board would never tolerate his TOTAL LACK OF LEADERSHIP, so he got his “go along to get along” pals, Presburg, Smith and Smola, to extend his contract. As you know, it only takes 3 out of 5 to pass anything you want.

Hopefully we will see the end of Smith’s incredibly awful tract record on the board soon and thankfully her soul mate Smola, who knew she couldn’t possibly win a new term, is headed for the door in January. And, If Bearden continues to lead like he has thus far, he will be introduced to the unemployment line soon.

Jim Richter

See below.

suggarfoot's picture

For years it was Smith, Smola, and Wright. For a brief time we had Dr Tolbert and things were getting better. Now we have Presberg and the choke holt continues.


Most of our problems come from the reckless spending for schools along the West Fayette Bypass for developers. That fact is unescapable. Ms Smith and Smola would like for you to forget that.

Marion Key is right, too little, too late. I suspect they controlled the vote and hoped to put the decisions off to help Smith get re elected. I assume they feel by calling attention to the mess they made, her chances of re election are hopeless.

What is puzzling to me now is why they want to stay in office? They can't fix the problem, or they would have. In my eyes, they ARE they problem. They have gutted the school system. There is not another dollar to throw at the feet of a developer.

They have created such a mess, if we are lucky enough to get someone competent elected, we will still be trying to dig out of at a hole the size of the grand canyon. It is going to take years to get out of this.

I still go back to the same question, what do they hope to gain by holding on to the power?

Just a question - but how long has each of the BOE been in office? I realize Mr. Presberg is new, but in general, haven't the others been around for years?

I may be wrong, but I think I voted for Todd and Key when I first moved to Fayette county in the early 2000's.

Is it your premise that the Smith/Smola/Presberg are "bad" or "incompetent", and Key/Todd are the solution but simply outvoted by the others?

Let's not forget that the financial woes facing our district are a decade old and that our previous Superintendent probably got out at a good time with a sterling reputation.

suggarfoot's picture

"Is it your premise that the Smith/Smola/Presberg are "bad" or "incompetent", and Key/Todd are the solution but simply outvoted by the others? "

Dr Todd was on the school board years ago and got off. (I think it was Woody somebody that took his place, Smola could tell you his name) Marion has stayed. She voted against Rivers. She was against the hundreds of acers of land the BOE bought. During the time of the building of the schools along the soon to be built bypass, I watched in disgust, and as Nuk can tell you, I was very vocal against it.

My main point in it was, WAIT. WAIT, till you have something to justify the building. WAIT, till the developers have built, or at least till they broke ground. WAIT, till the developers buyers have bought, so they can share the cost of building these schools. These schools were built with our tax money as developers tools to sell their new houses. It was a horrible gamble. "build it and they will come". Well, the developers wife, Smith, and the uneducated blow hard, Smola, built it...and they didn't show up.

In some other places (Coweta) the developers donate the land. It has been the custom here to buy 100 acre tracks, build the school, and sell the excess to the developers. This, for many reasons, has been a bad plan. The most logical flaw in this is, if you buy excess land and sell it to the developers...would not the kids in the new houses fill up the schools? (yes) and we therefore, did nothing to help our own kids, but rather used our tax dollars to build schools for kids that weren't even here?

The whole scheme was insane and now we have almost 200 acres of land and Rivers is in the middle on no where. The parents of Fayeteville don't want their iddy biddy ones on a buss that far, nor do the parents of Tyrone. Rivers was built to hold over 600 kids. It holds about 30 special ed as we speak. The cost I was told by someone on the board, a few years ago, to keep it maintained is about $250,000. a year. I can remember just a few years ago, we had to fight the BOE to keep them from putting in artifical turf and swimming pools at each of the schools cause someone on the board had a kid that swims.

You stated the following:

"If you had bothered to request a copy of Bearden’s contract, as permitted by the Ga Open Records Act, you would have learned that he can be terminated at any time without notice for cause and without it costing the taxpayers a dime."

Please post a copy of the superintendent contract for us to read. It absolutely cannot state specifically what you have written. No superintendent in this state would sign such a document. There have to be a dozen "wheres" and "wherefores" describing termination for "cause."

So, again, post the contract for us to see.

Yeah, Bearden can be fired. But, the taxpayers will be paying the remaing portion of his contract (which the board just extended).

I usually agree with americanpartriots writes, but I think he is misinformed here. I will retract that statement if he posts the contract and it says what what he has written.

NUK_1's picture

"For cause" is always open to interpretation unless it is something VERY blatant or obviously illegal. Lawyers have a field day with these kind of employment contracts.

Let's put it this way: the BOE just extended Bearden by a 5-0 vote. If in January or whenever they decide they have "cause" to fire him because they don't like his proposals, his attorney is immediately going to bring up the FACT that the BOE unanimously extended his contract months prior. Yeah, good luck winning that lawsuit without settling for almost all of his remaining money due if you fire him then.

Veritas's picture

Just cause for termination could be considered for example.. when the board requested a budget with cuts in the fall that Bearden did not supply would be a terminable cause. ( he has already done this once)If an individual does not fill the contractual duties as stated in the contract the contract can then be terminated. It is not so difficult as it occurs quite frequently now days. In so as far as "no person would sign such a document" every teacher in Fayette County did.

Nuk_1 is absolutely right. Veritas, you and I usually agree, but not this time.

Superintendent contracts are lengthy and filled with as many conditions as that of a college football coach. Yes, Bearden can be fired, but the taxpayers will be paying a huge sum of money (particularly since all 5 board members just voted to extend his contract) for the remaining portion of his contract.

Veritas's picture

True I too frequently find agreement with your positions but everyone can't see eye to eye all the time :-) If a superintendent contract is terminated because of not following contractual obligations or board directives he is not entitled to the remaining pay on his contract. That is Contract Law 101

I attended several honor and graduation events in Fayette County before the closing of school. Supt. Bearden spoke at most of them - and he received almost a standing ovation from the parents. Interesting. Some here may not think highly of him, but the parents (the voters) seemed to appreciate his efforts this year. Board members should be careful in 'replacing' him. . board members are the ones who are elected - right?

Hi David's mom,

I completely agree with you. I've met him several times and find him to be a strong leader. On two occasions, I was in a group with a few dozen parents and all of them were extremely supportive of him. To me as a parent, he is in touch with both the current state of education, the shortcomings, and has a vision to fix this.

It's leadership like this that made me feel good about not pulling my kids to put them in private schools.

He shared this video at one meeting - I think many would enjoy it:

If that doesn't net out the challenge facing education, I don't know what does.

As for the sharp comments from many over the financial situation we are in, I admit I don't have the answers. While I'm sure people who have ties to one BOE member or another can quote lots of comments or votes in previous meetings, most taxpayers are like myself and only know the Superintendent or simply the Principal/Asst. Principals at their respective schools. 99% of the tax payers don't go to every board meeting. For all the bloggers who are partisan to certain candidates, that's an important point to note.

Many taxpayers who are parents and educators support Dr. Bearden. He is well-liked and respected by parents and educators.

Many of the reasons for our current financial challenges predate him by almost a decade! The only person/persons that I see who have been involved with our school system throughout the entire decline are members of the board! And these members span both sides of the apparent factions that exist - so there is no political malice in this statement.

Whether you prefer the apparent pair of Key/Todd, or find yourselves supporting Smith/Presberg/Smola, we as tax payers deserve active solutions to help right the financial ship from both our BOE leadership AND the Superintendent.

Veritas's picture

"99% don't attend all" See there is your issue.. On an important note..No one expects anyone to attend all the meetings but maybe attend a few important ones. If you were really concerned you would have made some attempt to keep informed as to what has been occuring. In one respect you are correct most people didn't bother to trouble themselves to keep a finger on the pulse of the system.Now low and behold you are worried and informed yourself just enough to be dangerous. Believe me Mr Anderson there are Many educators, system emplyees , parents and Tax payers that find Dr.Bearden inept. Yes , this fiscal mess started before Dr.Bearden and his Lack of vision and inability to make tough decisions in order to protect a few are exacerbating the situation. Bearden read a few feel good books in his online doctoral program and spouts back philosophical touchy feely philsosphy that he himself still does not understand. This is the reason behind his push for an early extension ... Because he knew his time might be up under new board leadership.

PS he also wanted a raise until the board put an end to that by stipulating he could get a raise when all the teachers could also.( should have stated when all the employees not just teachers).

Fayette County educational leaders are not the only leaders in our country who were caught making decisions ( some proved to be detrimental) based on a very unstable economy. Throughout our country there are unfinished housing developments and empty classrooms. Supt. Bearden, the staff and volunteers at Fayette County schools are united in implementing a core curriculum that will maintain AND improve the educational offerings for our students. Fayette County parents are meaningfully involved in the educational program. Good teachers will continue to be attracted to Fayette County. Let's hope that some of the negativity and back biting does not affect adversely the elected adults and those hired to work for the educational program from performing their duties for the benefit of our students. One learns from past mistakes. I hope all parents will make informed decisions regarding this election.

[quote]Let's put it this way: the BOE just extended Bearden by a 5-0 vote. [/quote]


Thanks for linking us to an "unavailable" video!

Veritas's picture

You can find the video at RSA or or I saw it 2 or 3 years ago along with many of Sir Ken Robinson's talks ....they are informative reiterations and reincarnations of previous discussions on the topic of changes in public education ... I'm not sure as to quite what any of this has to do with what the fiscal and financial issues ,past and present , here in Fayette county. But it goes to what I stated earlier Bearden has watched or read such material and runs out and tells the staff to read and watch them without himself truly understanding them.

It has nothing to do with the financial/fiscal issues, unless you ask the question...

"Given the stated goal of moving towards a 21st century education model, and taking into account our current financial issues, how do we get there?"

The reason I shared it was in response to David's Moms comment. I found it quite informative and useful personally, and I know that everyone in the focus group I sat in found it interesting.

Your comment at the end of your post confuses me...

[quote]But it goes to what I stated earlier Bearden has watched or read such material and runs out and tells the staff to read and watch them without himself truly understanding them.[/quote]

With what do you base that on? Are you saying that Bearden simply heard about this new learning model, thought it was cool, and then told everyone to go check it out?

I get it - you obviously don't like him, find him lacking in fiscal expertise. I do like him. It's up to the board and voters to decide.

Didn't Bearden and several leaders from the system plus Chick Fil Et execs take a trip to Norfolk, VA to check out a system that was already down the road implementing the model. It seems to me that we are taking action in evaluating and moving towards that model. Additionally, last Aug. Bearden implemented a community focus group to share the idea with representatives from each school in the district. Disclosure - I was a member of this group.

Moving the school system forward academically is a major part of his job description! As I said in my earlier post, it's up to the BOE and Bearden to figure out how to pay for it all.

Nope, not me--not my post.

Veritas's picture

Yes that is what I'm saying..and No it is not a "New Model" it has been around in one for or another for 10 yrs at least. He read about Virginia Beach Schools in a book then chick fil a flew Bearden and some other administrators to that system. Guess what his report was ? There is no comparison to Fayette county schools as Fayette county model, programs and scores are ahead of Virginia Beach. He could have done this research online in 10 minutes and discovered this. If you actually attended a meeting or two or even a podcast you would have known this. Mr.Anderson I suggest you do your research.


Thanks for the advice.

I commend the fact you are very well versed in the BOE history going back to the 90's, attend most of the BOE meetings, and can do your own research. You are probably quite aware that most voters will NEVER do half of what you've done.

On my end - I've attended a few meetings, volunteered to serve on a community technology council, am active in my schools, and am quite adept at research. With my family and work commitments, this is all I can afford to do.

We both do our part.

My point is simple - he has a stated vision, many (but not all) voters like it and he's following through on it. I'm sure he did research on the simple test score and program differentials between the two. I think the value in the trip was looking at how this "new" model is implemented in the real world, rather than simply scanning a few articles. I'm not 100% on this one, but I think we were lucky enough to have Chick Fil Et foot part of the cost.

You don't like him. That's completely fine. Continue your efforts to get rid of him. Get your choice for board members reelected. But don't forget, there will always be two sides to every important issue. Many disagree with your opinion of Bearden and the right direction for our system.

But, do you not think that this specific vision is a large part of the reason he was selected by our current BOE over other candidates?

Regardless of which BOE candidate(s) you support, and I understand from your previous comments you specifically back Todd/Key, - the entire Board chose him based on this vision. They didn't pick him because he was financial expert in turning around school systems.

Maybe they should have?

LOL - it didn't work for you!?


Here are two links that both work on my end. If not, try the search that Veritas suggested.


Teachers who have been allowed to collaborate with one another have found these ideas presented in the video helpful. There are programs within Fayette County where teachers and parents 'team' in order to meet the needs of students in the classroom. I have witnessed many. What does this have to do with the financial situation in Fayette County? Teachers, parents, and community need to be aware of the reality; collaborate on what they can do within the confines of the reality - and move forward with CREATIVE thinking - thinking out of the box. Instead of rehashing what was - we need to be working on what do we do now for our kids! Everything in Fayette County has not gone to hell. With the previous cuts in financés in this district - there still have been some exciting programs going on in Fayette County classrooms. The bottom line of any educational system is the effectiveness of the delivery system. When the operations in the Board of Education meetings affect the delivery of a good education - then changes should be made. It doesn't seem as if the Board, who voted 5-0 to continue with Supt. Bearden are non-supportive of his efforts so far. The rest of this 'stuff' is political - and not very helpful as our staff and students prepare to start a new school year. Attend the Board of Education meetings, visit your neighborhood school, volunteer if possible. Get involved - then work with those involved to change what needs to be changed. The needs of our students and staff will continue even after July 31. Fayette County is not the only school district facing a financial shortfall in the United States!! Grants are available for creative approaches to education. Is there a grant writer in the district? The Supt. has to make sure that staff and students are safe within clean schools; can access schools (transportation); have well-trained adults operating all aspects of the school plant; serve nutritious meals; etc., etc., etc. within a BUDGET. Public education is tied to property taxes - and the property taxes in Fayette County aren't what they used to be. Simplistic, but the truth. There are very divergent ideas represented in this discussion - but I think that everyone wants what is best for the future of our kids. Our kids are not faced with the same 'world' that was there 20-50 years ago. The video handled this reality quite well. Thanks for sharing.


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