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DCSS BOE votes to ask state for waiver from 49 percent rule

Former Dougherty School Board member Commodore Conyers asked the DCSS School Board to do everything in their power to retain Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely for one more year. The BOE voted 5-1 Monday to ask the State Board of Education to waive a “49 percenter” rule which would force Mosely to step down on Oct. 1.

Former Dougherty School Board member Commodore Conyers asked the DCSS School Board to do everything in their power to retain Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely for one more year. The BOE voted 5-1 Monday to ask the State Board of Education to waive a “49 percenter” rule which would force Mosely to step down on Oct. 1.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Facing the possible loss of Interim School Superintendent Butch Mosely at the end of September, the Dougherty County Board of Education voted 5-1 Monday to send a resolution to the State Board of Education asking for a waiver of the state's 49 percenter rule.

After the Board emerged from an executive session to make the vote, BOE members Milton "June Bug" Griffin voted against the resolution while James Bush left the building before the vote was taken.

Because of a recent change in state law, Mosely will have to step down from his interim position on Sept. 30 instead of when his current contract expires in January 2014.

Earlier this year, Georgia passed House Bill 208, which sets strict return-to-work provisions and limits the number of hours a member of the Teacher's Retirement System of Georgia can work.

According to the TRS website, members who have negotiated a return-to-work employment contract have been notified that "retirees who are currently under an employment which extends beyond June 30, 2013 will be required to terminate or suspend their TRS retirement benefit."

Mosely currently draws $154,000 per year from the TRS, and his original one-year deal with the DCSS pays him $175,000 annually with no benefits.

"It's a scary possibility, but we might not have a superintendent on Oct. 1," Board member Darrel Ealum said. "We were blindsided by this new law. My position at this time is that it's going to be extremely difficult to find a competent superintendent after school has started.

"I'd like to begin a proper search in January of 2014 and keep Dr. Mosely in place until June of 2014."

The resolution sent to Atlanta asks the BOE "to waive the period of time from Oct. 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, the requirement of Rule 160-5-1-.22(2)(a)1 which requires each local school system to have a full time superintendent as to the Dougherty County School System so as to permit the Dougherty County Board of Education to employ a part-time superintendent to serve 49 percent of full-time during that time period."

The resolution further states that allowing the DCSS to employ a part-time superintendent will "allow the Board to continue to institute the reforms and actions upon which it has embarked which are necessary to improve the educational opportunities for the Dougherty County School System and bring the DCSS into compliance with all appropriate laws and regulations of the federal government and the State of Georgia and allow the Board to search for and employ a qualified individual to serve as permanent superintendent."

Board member Velvet Riggins said the resolution shows that the DCSS "needs to hurry up and hire a new full-time superintendent. We need to get someone on board quickly and keep our momentum going."

BOE member Robert Youngblood acknowledged that time was not on the system's side.

"We don't have much time, but we are looking at all of our options," said Youngblood.