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Richmond School Board approves nearly $300,000 severance for Bedden

Posted at 8:31 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 23:23:04-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dana Bedden will receive nearly $300,000 in severance when he leaves his post at the end of June.

A severance deal of $294,571 was agreed upon Monday night by the city’s School Board in a 7-1-1 vote.

The severance includes money for unused vacation and sick days that he has accrued during his tenure as Superintendent.

Bedden will depart the school system with two years left on his contract.

Scott Barlow was the only school board member to vote against parting ways/severance with Bedden Monday.

"We saw a lot of progress under Dr. Bedden despite the fact that he was not provided the time and resources necessary to show the transformational change that RPS deserves,” said Barlow. “I believe our school district would be better poised for success with continuity and stability, and I'm worried about losing momentum as we begin our Superintendent search."

School board member Linda Owen abstained from Monday’s vote.

"It's been a very difficult thing and I just couldn't do it today," she said.

Dr. Bedden took over RPS in 2014.

He received a contract extension the following year that would have kept him in his current role in school leadership until June 2019.

Teachers, parents, and city leaders have been critical of the way the School Board handled Bedden's sudden departure. School Board members have said they were ready to go in a different direction, but have not yet said what factors led to the decision.

Last week, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also called on the School Board to better explain their decision making process.

"Now I wish that the school board would explain a little bit more to the public, I think the public is owed that," said Stoney.

School board member Jonathan Young said that he didn't feel there was enough autonomy given to teachers and principals under current leadership.

He also said both sides (Bedden and board) had agreed not to defame each other when pushed about why the board had not directly explained why Bedden was being let go.

Now the board will work to hire a search firm to find next Superintendent.

Last time RPS used search firm it cost around 56,000 dollars, and Young said he expects this go around it will be around the same price.

According to agenda handed out at Monday’s meeting, the search firm to hire Bedden’s replacement won't be hired until August 1.

In the meantime, the board will pick an interim superintendent. There is no word on when that vote will take place.

Bedden was not in attendance at Monday's School Board meeting.

Melissa Hipolit will have more on this story on CBS 6 News at 11 p.m.