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CSD School Board needs more time for superintendent search, gives Maggie Fehrman 1-year extension

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CSD School Board needs more time for superintendent search, gives Maggie Fehrman 1-year extension

Dr. Maggie Fehrman. Photo by Dean Hesse

Decatur, GA — The Decatur School Board says it’s not ready to hire a permanent replacement for former superintendent David Dude and has agreed to a one-year contract extension with Superintendent Maggie Fehrman.

The school board announced its decision on Jan. 19.

Fehrman took over for Dude in April 2021 after he left the district following months of investigative stories by Decaturish.com that examined allegations raised by the school district’s former human resources director. In a federal lawsuit, the former HR director claimed Dude took more vacation than he was allowed under his contract. Reporting by Decaturish revealed evidence to support the claims made in that lawsuit. Recently, the district agreed to a settlement with the former HR director, but the details haven’t been disclosed yet. For a list of all the stories published during our investigation, click here and scroll to the end of the article.

The Decatur School Board gave Fehrman a one-year contract in May 2021. Since then, there’s been a school board election and two new members – Hans Utz and Dr. Carmen Sulton – have made it clear they want to conduct a proper search. Board Chair Jana Johnson Davis, who also supports a search, said there simply wasn’t enough time to finish a search before the 2022-2023 school year. She said the board is considering working with the Georgia School Boards Association to conduct the search, and GSBA will give a presentation to the Decatur School Board next week.

“We wanted to take our time and wait for the GSBA presentation to hear their timeline,” Davis said. “We didn’t feel confident we had enough time to have someone in place by the beginning of next school year.”

The school board has publicly encouraged Fehrman to apply for the full-time job.

Fehrman’s new contract, which will begin on July 1, gives her a $10,000 raise, from $190,000 to $200,000. She’s also eligible for a retention bonus of $25,000 if she completes the full term of her contract. She can also get a payment of up to $13,333 if she does not use all 15 of her personal leave days.

Here’s the school board’s statement about Fehrman’s contract extension:

Superintendent Search Statement from the Board of Education

The City Schools of Decatur Board of Education is committed to performing a robust national search for Superintendent. We believe that a fully empowered Superintendent requires an open and thorough vetting process to be the best possible champion for our children’s education.

The Board has concluded that we cannot complete a robust and thoughtful Superintendent search within the time we have remaining in this school year. The risk of failure is unacceptably high, and we believe it imprudent to take that chance.

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Fehrman has agreed to accept a one-year contract extension, which will be voted on in the next Board meeting. This will ensure that CSD has capable leadership while we take the time to conduct the search. This timing will better align with the availability of quality candidates, including Dr. Fehrman, and ensure that we arrive at the best possible outcome for our students.

The Board commits to the parents and the community at large that we will seek their input where possible, and we will continue to communicate often and transparently during this process.

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