DeSoto cuts its superintendent, refuses to disclose severance



Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely


Posted on September 2, 2011 at 11:16 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 2 at 11:17 PM

DESOTO - The DeSoto ISD school board agreed to let its embattled superintendent resign Friday night but refused to reveal how much her severance will cost taxpayers.

The board met privately in executive session for more than an hour.

Afterwards, five of the six board members in attendance voted to accept the voluntary service agreement from Kathy Augustine. Kenzie Moore, the board's vice-president, voted against the agreement.

But afterward, the publicly elected official refused to say why.

"We'll speak through one voice," Moore said, pointing to board president Warren Seay.

Seay did not disclose how much Augustine's severance cost taxpayers.

When pressed, he said the district is transparent, but that the Attorney General would have to order that figure released.

"As soon as we get the go, we're certainly a transparent organization and so that will be public information at that time," Seay told News 8.

The board legally cannot disclose the amount yet, Seay added, because of attorney / client privilege.

DeSoto hired Augustine from Atlanta but she only led DeSoto for one day, on July 11.

The board put her on leave after allegations of cheating followed her from Georgia.

Still, DeSoto paid Augustine $3,600 a week - more than $25,000 to date.

Seay brushed that aside and insisted the district is financially sound.

"The message to taxpayers is simple. We've balanced our budget, lowered our taxes by seven cents in the last two years. We've cut $8 million out," he continued. "We haven't taken a step back from the school standpoint. Our students are still learning. Our educators are still educating."

Board members elevated the assistant superintendent, Levatta Levels, to the interim position but would not say how soon it plans to post its top job.