Opinions heated on next Richmond County school superintendent

News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, July 15, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The search is on for a new Richmond County school superintendent, and they're getting close to having the final three.

Dr. Frank Roberson's contract will be up in August, but before the board makes their choice, they released a survey to get your ideas on who should be next. Even though more than 1,500 people took the survey, some don't think their opinions will even matter.

A nine question survey turned into 50 pages of results after the school board asked what you want in the next Richmond County Superintendent.

When News 12 asked if their input going to be included when choosing a superintendent, board member Jack Padgett responded, "Oh definitely. I know it will with me or else I wouldn't have spent several hours reading the thing."

But, after lots of public comments and little change during the rightsizing process, some wonder if these survey comments will even matter.

One survey comment reads, "It's laughable to think we have any influence on who the next superintendent will be. Nice try with the survey thing. I'm not even convinced anyone will even read this."

"One thing that really bothered me was that some said oh, I know nobody will ever look at this or read this. It's just something for publicity. I did read it, and I did understand what they were talking about," Padgett said.

Who are these comments actually coming from? While individual answers are anonymous, results show nearly 85 percent of the people who took the survey are Richmond County BOE employees. Only 11 percent represent actual parents of children in the school system.

"I would have preferred more answers from parents. I think that's more critical, and sometimes parents have a good idea of what's going on with their kids," Padgett said.

No matter who you ask, parents and teachers alike want someone who is invested. After three different superintendents in eight years in Dr. Frank Roberson, Dr. Dana Bedden, and Charles Larke, they're ready for someone who will stick around.

"It would be nice to have someone thats here for a while. It'd build some stability," Padgett said.

They've narrowed the list down to fewer than 10 candidates. They won't release any names until they pick the top three. Padgett says he hopes that will happen in the next couple weeks.


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