CSD responds to questions about investigation of superintendent, approves budgetFormer City Schools of Decatur superintendent David Dude. Image obtained from City Schools of Decatur
By Sara Amis, contributor
Decatur, GA — At the City Schools of Decatur Board of Education meeting April 20, some public comment was focused on the investigation of whether Superintendent Dr. David Dude reported his absences inaccurately, allowing him to cash out vacation days he said he didn’t use. Public records show that Dude received $100,000 in additional compensation for those vacation days. The board voted unanimously to place Dude on administrative leave while the investigation is being conducted.
Susan Camp stated that she did not believe that the district should enter into a new contract with Dr. Dude while the investigation is ongoing, and should let his current contract expire. Kunle Oguneye questioned the legal advice that the district received, suggesting that the district should have acted much more quickly than it did.
Board Chair Tasha White clarified that McGuire Woods, a neutral outside party, not the district’s legal representation, is conducting the investigation. White stated that the board was limited in what kinds of questions they can answer about personnel matters, and that they rely on the district’s legal counsel for advice. “We realize that this could affect our students and the district for years to come, so that’s how we step into these legal questions,” said White. “I wish I could tell you everything that you want to know. Just trust that we have the students’ best interests at heart, and that is the center of every conversation we have,” added White.
Commenters were also concerned about the proposed Fiscal Year 2022 budget. Jane Peavy asked whether step increases for teacher salaries would be included in the upcoming budget.
Executive Director of Finance Lonita Broome presented several versions of the budget for the board to choose among, some of which included step increases and some of which did not. The board voted to approve a version of the budget which would include step increases and potentially raise the millage rate to 21.0 from its current rate of 20.25.
“I think it’s important to preserve the step increases because that’s literally what our teachers signed up for when they signed their contracts,” said board member Lewis Jones.
The FY22 budget will receive final approval at the May 11 board meeting, and the millage rate will receive further public hearings and approval after the county tax digest is received.
Doug Moses of Mauldin & Jenkins presented the financial audit for the district. He reported an unmodified or “clean” opinion on the district’s financial statements.