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How did former CSD superintendent David Dude make $411,554.35 in Fiscal Year 2021?

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How did former CSD superintendent David Dude make $411,554.35 in Fiscal Year 2021?

Former City Schools of Decatur superintendent David Dude. Image obtained from City Schools of Decatur

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — Salary data released by the state included an eye-popping statistic.

Former City Schools of Decatur superintendent David Dude, who left the district in April 2021 following a series of investigative stories by Decaturish, made $411,554.35 in Fiscal Year 2021, making him one of the highest-paid superintendents in the state. He made more money that year than the superintendents of Atlanta, Fulton County and DeKalb County Public Schools.

His salary before leaving the district was $219,000, not including bonuses and pay-outs for his unused vacation days. Those pay-outs were one of the central claims in a federal lawsuit filed against Dude by the district’s former human resources director. David Adams, the former HR director, alleges a central office shakeup in December 2019 occurred because the school’s finance director expressed concerns that Dude took more vacations than his contract allowed.

Dude received more than $100,000 in payments for unused vacation days since 2016, records obtained by Decaturish show. Dude documented his own vacation days, but the records provided by the district also show Dude didn’t document those days in the school district’s payroll system until 2021. The Decatur school district recently settled that lawsuit.

But Dude was only paid $26,175 for the vacation days in Fiscal Year 2021. So, where did the additional $166,000 in compensation come from?

According to the school district, Dude received $135,239.05 for accrued sick leave and additional vacation pay-outs that year.

Current Superintendent Maggie Fehrman provided the cost break down to Decaturish. Dude received:

– $232,140.00 in salary which includes 6% TRS contribution reimbursement

– $179,414.35 in other salary and compensation. This category of compensation includes.

* $26,175.30 for 30 accrued vacation days from FY20 per his contract and paid out on 7/14/20.

* Bi-weekly payments of $750.00 for expenses per his contract, which included things such as civic dues, automobile expenses while performing Superintendent duties, and automobile liability insurance.

* $135,239.05 for 125 days of accrued sick leave (accrued throughout his tenure as superintendent) and 30 days of vacation time (paid for FY21) as prescribed by his Employment Contract, and modified in the Contractual Modification and Transition Agreement.

Decaturish asked how Dude was able to accrue 125 days of sick leave.

“It is what was in his contract,” Fehrman said.

School Board Chair Jana Johnson-Davis declined to comment, citing the separation agreement the district signed when it parted ways with Dude.

The School Board’s contract with Fehrman places a cap on pay-outs for unused vacation leave. She can get a payment of up to $13,333 if she does not use all 15 of her personal leave days.

Regarding paid sick leave, her contract says, “Superintendent shall earn twelve (12) days of sick leave for the Contract Period, which she may use in accordance with the Schools System’s policy for sick leave for administrators. Superintendent will not receive payment for any unused days of sick leave remaining at the end of the Contract Period, but any such unused sick leave days may be credited to her with the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia pursuant to that system’s policies.”

Decaturish.com’s investigation revealed problems with a contract the School Board awarded Dude that would’ve gone into effect July 1, 2021. Before Dude’s departure, that contract was rescinded. The contract  appeared to make firing Dude for cause more difficult and made it more expensive to fire him for the board’s convenience.

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