DeSoto ISD seeks split from controversial new superintendent

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on August 8, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 9 at 6:22 PM

DeSOTO — The DeSoto ISD board voted 3-2 Monday to work out an exit agreement with its superintendent, Dr. Kathy Augustine.

It's the first public admission that the district is trying to get rid of Augustine, who has been on paid leave since July 11.

Augustine is accused in a massive cheating scandal that has rocked the Atlanta public school system, where she formerly worked.

As a result, Augustine was placed on leave after her first day of work in DeSoto, and the district has already paid her more than $15,000 of her $188,000 annual salary.

Board members are now considering a settlement that could cost it tens of thousands more.

Some trustees, like Aubrey Hopper, lost faith in Augistine's ability to run the district.

"I don't feel comfortable that the person that we engaged in a contract can provide the leadership that we expect to take this district to the next level," he said.

Trustee Kenzie Moore, a supporter of Augustine, criticized fellow board members for trying to postpone a final decision that continues to embarrass the district and cost it money that it doesn't have.

"If this is about integrity, we have failed as a board. If this is about ethics, we have failed as a board. If this is about our students and our kids, we have failed as a board," Moore said. "If we continue going the road that we are going, we will continue to fail, and it will only continue to cost this district monies that we don't need to be spending."

The DeSoto ISD was hoping to have a new superintendent in place by the start of the school year, but on Monday, trustees said it will likely take longer than that.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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