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Mosely discusses options as waiver vote nears

DCSS Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely has three weeks left on his contract with the district unless the Georgia BOE on Sept. 26 approves a waiver from the state’s new 49 percenter rule which went into affect in July. On Friday, Mosely discussed his and the school system’s options as the Sept. 30 deadline draws closer. (Staff Photo by Terry Lewis)

DCSS Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely has three weeks left on his contract with the district unless the Georgia BOE on Sept. 26 approves a waiver from the state’s new 49 percenter rule which went into affect in July. On Friday, Mosely discussed his and the school system’s options as the Sept. 30 deadline draws closer. (Staff Photo by Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — Dougherty County School System Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely and several other school officials will be in Atlanta this afternoon meeting with a member of the State Charter School Commission to present its case against the state granting a charter application to the nascent River School for Children STEM Academy.

The trip to Atlanta, however, is just the first of two Mosely will be making to Atlanta over the next three weeks.

On Sept. 26, the 14-member Georgia Board of Education will consider a waiver request from the DCSS that would allow Mosely to bypass the state’s new 49 percenter rule and finish out his original contract with the system.

Earlier this year, Georgia passed HB 208, which sets strict return to work provisions and limits the number of hours a member of the Teacher’s Retirement System of Georgia (TRS) can work.

Mosely was retired from the state when he began work as the DCSS’s Interim Superintendent in January.

According to the TRS web site, 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.

The law, which applies retroactively, states that retirees can work no longer than nine months per year. Mosley’s maximum will be reached on Sept. 30.

In response, the Dougherty County Board of Education voted 5-1 late in July to send a resolution to the State Board of Education asking for a waiver of the state’s 49 percenter rule. The waiver request is for nine months and would expire on June 30 of next year.

There are three possible outcomes for Mosely and the DCSS.

— The State BOE can approve the local board’s waiver request and the status quo would apply until Mosely’s contract is up on June 30.

— If the state denies the waiver, the DCSS board would have to call a special meeting to work out a new nine-month contract agreement with Mosely prior to Sept. 30. The interim superintendent currently has the votes needed to approve a reworked contract, and he has said he is willing to suspend his state pension for those nine months to finish the job he began in January of this year.

— Or, if no new contract is agreed upon by Sept. 30, Mosely would head back home to Climax, and the DCSS would have to find a temporary or another interim superintendent to lead the 15,500 plus student system until the 2014-15 school year begins.

“I think we are going to be able to work something out,” Mosely said last Friday. “The majority of the (DCSS) board of education wants me to stay around for nine more months. Of course, if the waiver is approved by the state, that would solve the problem. But if the state BOE denies the request, I think the local BOE and I can negotiate a deal which is favorable to both parties.”

When he was hired in January to replace former Superintendent Joshua Murfree, Mosely said he wanted to have two hiring cycles to help right a school system that was still staggering from a CRCT cheating scandal, a BOE member and principal arrested for school lunch fraud, and the state DOE placing the system at “High Risk Status” for numerous Title I expenditure violations.

During the last hiring cycle, Mosely and the school board moved nine new principals into the system’s 24 schools — including at three of the county’s four high schools.

“I want to stay here and finish the job we started,” Mosely said. I don’t want us to risk losing the momentum we have going on. I am pleased with the progress we are making in our high schools. Monroe, Dougherty and Albany high schools have got a lot of good things going on right now. We have the right people in the right places to do good things.”

If all goes according to plan, the District next week will ask the State School Board Association to recommend a list of names for a permanent superintendent, then begin advertising the position in January. When the new superintendent is hired, Mosely will remain on board to mentor the new hire until his contract expires on June, 30 of next year.