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Decatur School Board extends superintendent’s contract for one year

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Decatur School Board extends superintendent’s contract for one year

Dr. Maggie Fehrman. Photo by Dean Hesse

Decatur, GA — The City Schools of Decatur School Board extended Superintendent Maggie Fehrman’s contract for one year at the Feb. 8 School Board meeting.

Fehrman took over for former superintendent David 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. The School Board gave Fehrman a one-year contract in May 2021. 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.

CSD attorney Bob Wilson said a couple of changes were made to the contract to clarify two provisions, but Fehrman’s salary and the payment for unused personal leave days did not change.

“There is no true substantive change to the contract,” Wilson said. “The pay amount, the vacation amount, all of those things, sick leave, are exactly the same as they were. Nothing has changed like that.”

Under the section outlining Fehrman’s job duties, the language was updated to make it clear that this is her full-time position and all of Fehrman’s energy and time will be focused on CSD and her responsibilities, he said.

“It simply strengthened that provision, so there could be no question about it,” Wilson said.

The provision related to personal leave, under the expenses and benefits section, was updated to clarify how the district calculates the amount that could be paid for unused days. However, the daily rate and the maximum amount that could be paid remain the same.

At the board’s work session on Jan. 25 discussed their superintendent search with the Georgia School Boards Association and learned about GSBA’s process for conducting such a search. The School Board has not decided whether it will partner with GSBA. They are planning to seek out other consultants to see how they would conduct the search before making a final decision.

The School Board was set to begin the search before the end of the school year, but the board announced on Jan. 19 that it needs more time to hire a permanent replacement for former superintendent David Dude. They agreed to offer Superintendent Maggie Fehrman a one-year contract extension.

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

In other business, during the superintendent’s comment, Fehrman said she will be meeting with the district’s COVID-19 advisory teams over winter break to discuss possible criteria CSD could put into place to help decide when the school system could begin peeling back COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

“We have no changes really to share [on Feb.8],” Fehrman said. “We’re a lot more about increased immunity overall in our community and nationwide with COVID. What does that look like now for us as a community? I am addressing that and working on how do we create…an off ramp for some of these mitigation strategies, which we definitely want to do as soon as possible. But we also want to keep our staff and students safe.”

Editor Dan Whisenhunt contributed to this article.

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