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Questions remain after David Dude leaves City Schools of Decatur

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Questions remain after David Dude leaves City Schools of Decatur

FILE PHOTO USED FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES: The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education. Top row, left to right: former Superintendent David Dude and School Board Chair Lewis Jones. Bottom row, left to right: School board members James Herndon, Tasha White (Vice Chair), Heather Tell and Jana Johnson-Davis. Image obtained via City Schools of Decatur
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Decatur, GA — David Dude’s time as City Schools of Decatur’s superintendent ended on April 27, but numerous questions about the reasons for his departure and the investigation into allegations against him remain unanswered.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Maggie Fehrman, who has been acting superintendent since Dude was placed on administrative leave earlier this month, will replace Dude, the School Board announced. The board intends to give her a one-year contract at its May 11 meeting. Prior to the board parting ways with Dude, it rescinded a recently renewed contract with him, saying it had plans to renegotiate it. The contract, which would’ve gone into effect July 1, made it harder and more expensive to fire Dude.

It’s not clear who wrote the contract or negotiated it on behalf of the board. Dude previously said he was not represented by an attorney during contract negotiations with the board.

Some of Decatur’s residents questioned the School Board’s decision to award a contract to Fehrman without conducting a search, but that isn’t the only question on people’s minds. Did Dude resign or was he terminated? And if he was terminated, what was the reason? Did the School District pay Dude anything when they parted ways? And what will become of the school district’s investigation of allegations that Dude took more vacation than his contract allowed and then cashed out the days he said he didn’t use, earning $100,000 in the process?

The Decatur School Board has not responded to these questions. Dude didn’t return a message seeking comment.

Decaturish has posed the following questions to the School Board Chair Tasha White and has received no response:

1) What will become of the investigation? Has it been completed? When can the public see the results?

2) Why did the School Board make Dr. Fehrman the new superintendent instead of engaging in a search for Dude’s replacement?

3) Will the School District provide the public with a copy of Dude’s separation agreement?

Those are the most pressing questions at the moment. The School Board has a list of more than a dozen questions from Decaturish about this situation that it has yet to answer. Those questions were asked on March 15. Here are some of the questions Decaturish posed to the School Board.

1) What number of days did the School Board use to calculate Superintendent David Dude’s daily rate of pay for David Dude’s vacation pay-outs? Is that not the number of days the School Board expected him to work? The number used in the contract for this calculation is 251 days.

2) Does the School Board believe Dude got the summers off?

3) Who negotiated on the board’s behalf during the most recent contract negotiations with Dude?

4) Were CSD’s attorneys involved with the most recent contract negotiations?

5) Who wrote Dude’s last two contracts, including the one the board rescinded?

6) Older versions of Dude’s contracts cite O.C.G.A. 20-2-940a when discussing termination for cause. That language was removed from his most recent contract extension, the one the board rescinded. Can the board explain why?

7) Why did the contract the board rescinded give the superintendent David Dude 60 days to respond to allegations that would be the basis for terminating him for cause? This wasn’t in any of his previous contracts.

8) Which board members read the most recent contract – the one the board rescinded – before signing it?

9) Decaturish has requested a copy of the engagement letter or contract with McGuire Woods, the firm the district hired to investigate the allegations against Dude. So far, the School Board has not provided these documents. What is the investigator’s mandate? What did the board specifically ask this firm to investigate?

10) What has the school board budgeted for legal expenses in the current fiscal year?  What has the school board spent on legal expenses in the current fiscal year? How was this money spent? Who was paid and how much?

Here are links to our previous stories about this issue:

Lawsuit alleges Decatur superintendent took more vacations than his contract allowed

A Super Deal (Part 1): Decatur School Board gave superintendent money for down payment on a house

A Super Deal (Part 2): Superintendent documented his own vacation, got $100k for unused days

A Super Deal (Part 3): Records show gaps in superintendent’s schedule; sources say he’s often gone

New evidence shows Decatur superintendent took time off but didn’t use vacation days

Decatur superintendent’s new contract could make him harder to fire

As civic leaders remain silent on allegations against Decatur superintendent, parents seek answers

Beacon Hill, BPA demand transparency from School Board on superintendent investigation

Longtime Decatur residents fed up with School Board, superintendent start new petition

City Schools of Decatur denies allegations made in two federal lawsuits

Decatur superintendent’s PSC certification lapsed in June, was renewed and backdated in October

Decatur School Board plans executive session; PSC complaint filed against superintendent

Decatur School Board will hire independent investigator and rescind superintendent’s contract

PSC remands complaint against superintendent to Decatur School Board

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