0

Clayton school financial officer leaving for Fulton County

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Clayton Schools Chief Financial Officer Theresa McDugald will leave the district in two weeks for a similar job with the Fulton County School System.

McDugald, who has been the CFO for Clayton Schools for more than three years, was excited about the move because she will reunite with Dr. Cindy Loe, who took over as Fulton's superintendent on April 1. McDugald and Loe worked together in the Gwinnett County school system until McDugald came to Clayton County in 2005.

"I'm just happy to be going to work with Dr. Loe again," McDugald said.

Charles White, a spokesman for the district, said Interim Superintendent Gloria Duncan will appoint an acting CFO once McDugald leaves the district. The acting CFO will serve the school system until a permanent replacement is hired.

The news came as the Clayton County Board of Education prepares to hold a serious of budget work shops which will lead to the approval of the school system's fiscal 2009 budget. The board approved a timeline for the budget process on Monday, during a called meeting.

The board will hold budget meetings on April 28 and during the week of May 5. It will tentatively adopt the budget on June 2, and a public hearing will be held on June 23. Board members will adopt the budget for a second time, per school system policy, on June 30. They will tentatively adopt a millage rate on the same night.

As the board held its meeting, many people were still coming to terms with McDugald's decision to leave the district.

"Theresa McDugald has done a great job as Chief Financial Officer for Clayton County Public Schools," said Interim Superintendent Duncan. "We will miss her financial expertise. I join with the school district in wishing her the best of luck as she enters a new phase of her professional life."

The board and the audience also learned that Board Chairperson Ericka Davis will leave the board sooner than she had originally stated.

Davis gave an emotional farewell at the end of the meeting as she informed her fellow board members and people in the audience that Wednesday may have been her last meeting as a board member.

Davis is planning on stepping down by April 11, because her interpretation of the local election rules means she has to be gone by that date, so her seat can be put on the ballot for the July 15 primary election. She had originally planned on resigning on June 15.

She said one of the motivating factors was a recent incident in which her daughter, Jessica, brought home a report card showing she had done well in school. The chairperson said she was too focused on the current crisis involving the school system's accreditation to celebrate her own daughter's accomplishments, and felt it was unfair.

"It has been my privilege to serve this county for the last seven years," Davis said. "I want to say that although Rome is burning, it is not acceptable to start throwing more logs and matches on to the fire ... It is not helpful for people to run to the media with something negative to say about the district, just so you can say 'Look, I'm adding another log to the fire.' "

Duncan said she was surprised by Davis' announcement.

"It was very emotional, but it shows the level of her commitment to the students of this county," Duncan said. "I promised her we will do everything in our power to retain our accreditation."