Decatur School Board to consider bonus for outgoing superintendent, lower tax rate

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt July 13, 2015
Left to right: School Board Lewis Jones, Julie Rhame, Bernadette Seals and Superintendent Phyllis Edwards. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Left to right: School Board Lewis Jones, Julie Rhame, Bernadette Seals and Superintendent Phyllis Edwards. File photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Superintendent Phyllis Edwards may leave City Schools of Decatur with a performance bonus, if the School Board approves it.

School Board members will also consider lowering the school tax rate to 19 mills, though that’s not as low as some board members would’ve liked.

School Board members are set to consider a bonus of up to $20,000 during their July 14 meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are held at the CSD central office at 125 Electric Avenue and are open to the public.

Edwards announced her resignation in March and her last day hasn’t been determined. School Board Chairman Garrett Goebel said Edward’s contract comes up for renewal each June 30, but the renewal hasn’t been approved by the board.

When the renewal is approved, it will likely contain details about her last day.

“The superintendent’s contract is renewed annually,” Goebel said. “This is usually accomplished during the summer. You can expect that when approved by the board, the terms and details of the superintendent’s transition and timing will be made clear.”

School Board members will have a closed-door meeting at the end of the July 14 meeting to discuss legal, personnel and real estate issues. Goebel said he is unable to discuss what topics will be covered in that meeting due to its confidential nature.

Edwards has regularly received performance bonuses throughout her 12-year tenure as the school’s superintendent, according to the board agenda.

“In past years, the bonus has been awarded in varying amounts and there have been times, during bad budget years when the Superintendent has waived the receipt of any bonus,” the agenda says.

This year, Edwards created an “ePortfolio” to demonstrate how she’s met various goals set by the Board. The ePortfolio ( lists four goals:

– Developing new report cards that can be more easily understood by parents

– Planning for school enrollment growth

– Setting specific one-year system targets

– Ensuring that roles and responsibilities under CSD’s charter system model are documented in a School Leadership Team Manual

During the meeting, Board members will consider adopting the tax rate of 19 mills, down from its current rate of 20.5 mills. Last month, School Board members asked for information on lowering the tax rate to 18.66 mills.

‘This recommended millage rate of 19.00 mills, if approved would be a decrease to the millage of 1.90 mills over the last two years,” the agenda says. “This cumulative reduction of 1.90 mills would equate to a loss of revenue to the District in the amount $3 million.”

In other business, School Board members will consider approving the resignation of Kiawana Kennedy, CSD’s Chief Operating Officer. Kennedy left CSD to take a job as assistant superintendent of administrative services for the Griffin-Spalding Board of Education.


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