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Chavis denies rumors

By Greg Gelpi

Clayton County schools Interim Superintendent William Chavis denied rumors that he is considering resigning and stood behind his recent allegations of a "conspiracy" Wednesday.

Chavis filed a complaint with the Education Ethics Division of the Professional Standards Commission. In the complaint, he charged three assistant superintendents with scheming to disrupt the hiring of an area superintendent so that "their" applicant would get the job.

Rumors had circulated that Chavis was considering his resignation, but a senior administrator denied the rumor Tuesday. Chavis said he will be back on the job today after going to the doctor and taking his doctor's advice not to return to work until today.

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Ed Scott confirmed that Chavis had spoken with him about resigning on three or four different occasions, but said he had no letter of resignation from Chavis.

Chavis has two contracts, Scott said. One contract is with the school board for his interim superintendent position, while the other is with the school system for a position as a senior administrator. If Chavis was no longer interim superintendent, his other contract would go into effect.

Two of those implicated by Chavis, Sam King and Jackie Hubbert, fired back, denying the allegations at Monday's Clayton County Board of Education meeting.

Chavis, who has been out of the office sick since Monday, reiterated his claims that, King, Hubbert and Assistant Superintendents Luvenia Jackson and Lynda Daniel were involved in trying to intercede in the hiring process for the Area 2 assistant superintendent position.

Chavis alleged that King apologized for being "tricked," but Monday King denied taking part in the alleged "conspiracy" and denied apologizing, explaining that he did nothing that warrants an apology.

Chavis responded to King's denials, saying that he may have misinterpreted what King said earlier as an apology.

"These people showed up at my office and demanded that I hire their person," Chavis repeated Wednesday.

"I consider this type of behavior by the three Assistant Superintendents to be deliberate, unnecessary, unethical, manipulative and unprofessional," Chavis stated in his letter to the ethics commission. "This entire episode was an attempt to get ?their' person in place and an attempt at micro-management. The three people went behind my back and caused all three of the candidate's anger, stress and resentment."

Chavis also alleged that the Evening High School operated in debt and lost $700,000 under the supervision of Jackson. Lee Davis, the system's chief financial officer, though, told the board he would not use the word "debt" to describe the situation. Because the school operated out of the general fund, he could not immediately say whether the accusation is true.

Chavis filed the complaint at the request of the three applicants who were allegedly called by the assistant superintendents, his letter states.

The ethics commission has not begun an investigation, but may still investigate the complaint after reviewing it, chief investigator John Grant said.

Chavis became interim superintendent when the board fired Dan Colwell.

The board will meet with the Georgia School Boards Association at 8 a.m. Saturday to discuss the 39 applicants to fill the superintendent position.

The school system contracted with the GSBA to conduct a national search for a new superintendent in accordance with a suggestion from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which placed the system on probation. Hiring a superintendent is seen as crucial to SACS lifting the probation. SACS will revisit the school system in the spring.