Board, Pulliam could ink contract by Monday

By Greg Gelpi

Negotiations have begun and Clayton County could have a new school superintendent as soon as Monday.

Clayton County Public Schools board attorney Gary Sams sent a "draft copy of the proposed contract" to Barbara Pulliam and hopes to have a response in time for Monday's regular school board meeting, he said, adding he is "hoping" she will start work in Clayton County Feb. 1.

The Clayton board agreed to offer Pulliam a contract at a special called meeting Dec. 19. Pulliam, who is the superintendent of the school system in St. Louis Park, Minn., gave notice of her leaving to her school board Dec. 22.

Pulliam would not comment on how soon she could start or how negotiations were going. Sams, though, said he didn't foresee any problems with the negotiations.

Sams was authorized by the Clayton board to enter into negotiations Dec. 19. He is working out the details of the contract, working within the framework of the advertisement the board placed for the job. The ad said the job pays between $150,000 to $180,000, but the fringe benefits are negotiable.

"I'm hoping that we have something to present to the board at the January meeting," Sams said. "We told her that we wanted to have something as soon as possible."

Dan Colwell, the superintendent before current interim Superintendent William Chavis, was paid $157,304 and made about $221,000 a year after fringe benefits. Pulliam currently makes $142,500 in St. Louis Park.

The board chose Pulliam from a group of three finalists. DeKalb County Associate Superintendent Stanley Pritchett and Roy Brooks, an area superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Fla., were the other two finalists.

The superintendent's position became vacant when the school board fired Colwell in January and named Chavis the interim superintendent. The board later bought out the remainder of Colwell's contract.

Pulliam would be the first female superintendent in Clayton County and only the second black superintendent of the primarily black school system.