Richmond County BOE decides to fire Dr. Larke

By: Diane Cho
By: Diane Cho

July 25, 2006

After months of talks and negotiations, Richmond County School Board members say they've had enough.

Tonight, they decided to fire Superintendent Dr. Charles Larke.

It was not a quick decision.

Board members met behind closed doors for more than two and a half hours before coming out to take the vote.

It's the beginning of the end for Richmond County School Superintendent Dr. Charles Larke.

Dozens of parents stood outside showing their support for Dr. Larke.

But in spite of their efforts, enough board members had already made up their minds.

"We have ten systems right now, middle schools, high schools that are failing," said board member Ken Echols. "We have high schools that are not meeting the yearly progress. We have elementary schools. We've got a real mess, and we'd better clean it up tonight."

The school board's attorney will now take the next step in ending Dr. Larke's contract.

He'll write a letter outlining exactly why each board member feels Larke needs to go.

"We offered him a contract and Larke did not take it, so the board had no other choice to do what we had to do," explained one board member.

After the legal letter is delivered, Dr. Larke will have ten days to defend himself in a public hearing. After that, the board will vote again on whether Larke gets to stay.

Those who support Dr. Larke call it an injustice.

"I think he should be allowed to complete his term," said retired teacher Ruth Reddy. "If there are problems, I feel that the board should discuss those. Identify them, see what needs to be done, and give him a chance to correct them."

Another question that came up tonight is whether the board still has a quorum now that District 3 board member John Seitz has resigned. Without his vote, the board is down to nine.

In order for Larke to be terminated, the board needs a two-thirds vote. So the question is, do they need six votes or seven to make that two-thirds?

The board will be asking the attorney general before they take the next step.

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