Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: BOE Puts Superintendent Demond Means on Leave

    Means web.jpg

    Photo Credit: Austin Steele/file

    Superintendent Demond Means

    The Clarke County Board of Education voted 5-3 Monday to place Superintendent Demond Means on leave and name his chief of staff, Xernona Thomas, the chief executive until an interim superintendent is found.

    The vote ended Means' tumultuous two-and-a-half year tenure, although a number of details still remain to be worked out, including any severance package. Means' contract runs through the 2021-2022 school year, so he is owed more than $700,000 if he's fired without cause.

    Greg Davis, Kara Dyckman, Patricia Yager, Tawana Mattox and John Knox voted in favor of the motion, made by Yager, while Charles Worthy, Linda Davis and LaKeisha Gantt voted against it. District 2 representative Frances Berry resigned last month, leaving that seat vacant.


  • Culture Briefs: Avid Bookshop Is Closing Its Prince Location


    Photo Credit: Blake Aued/file

    Avid Bookshop owner Janet Geddis at the Prince Avenue location in 2014.

    Sad news for Cobbham residents: Avid Bookshop is closing its Prince Avenue location at the end of the year, owner Janet Geddis announced in her monthly newsletter to customers.

    Geddis reassured readers that Avid is not in danger of going out of business, and the newer Five Points location will remain open. But sales declining and a recession looming, she wrote that she made the difficult decision to downsize out of an abundance of caution.

    She chose to keep the Five Points store over Prince because it's larger, with an office and storage in back, and because of challenges negotiating a long-term lease for the Prince space.


  • In the Loop: School Board May Appoint Interim Superintendent


    Demond Means

    The Clarke County Board of Education has scheduled another called meeting for Monday to discuss Superintendent Demond Means' departure.

    In addition to an executive session to discuss personnel matters, the agenda also includes an action item: "Potential Action to Appoint an Interim Superintendent." The 3:30 p.m. meeting will be held at the H.T. Edwards building.

    Whether or not an interim superintendent is appointed depends on how much progress the board makes during the closed session, President LaKeisha Gantt told Flagpole.


  • In the Loop: Demond Means Is Out as CCSD Superintendent

    Means web.jpg

    Photo Credit: Austin Steele/file

    Superintendent Demond Means and the Clarke County School District will be parting ways .

    "The board has entered into negotiations for his exit," President LaKeisha Gantt announced after the school board met for nearly four hours behind closed doors.

    The board took no vote on Means' departure. It's unclear if he is resigning, being fired or—most likely—negotiating a buyout. It's also unclear when his rocky tenure as superintendent will formally end. Gantt declined to answer any questions, saying that discussions in executive session are confidential.


  • In the Loop: Superintendent Means Is Still in Office—for Now


    Photo Credit: Andrea Farnham

    A rally for Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means drew about 50 people Friday.

    Demond Means came to work Friday and apparently will stay on as superintendent of the Clarke County School District at least through next week.

    Means said he would resign after a contentious discussion at Thursday's school board meetingregarding the board's response to an ethics complaint filed against Means with the Professional Standards Commission, which certifies educators. The board urged the PSC to dismiss the formal complaint, but a line added by board member Tawana Mattox saying that the board would hold Means accountable drew the superintendent's ire.

    "By virtue of that vote, you don't want me as superintendent, and we need to have a discussion about how I leave," he told the board Thursday.


  • In the Loop: School Superintendent Demond Means Says He's Quitting


    Photo Credit: Whitley Carpenter/file

    Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means said he is resigning during a Board of Education meeting tonight that quickly devolved from sedate to a spectacle.

    Frustrations spilled over when the board discussed a letter to the state Professional Standards Commission, which certifies educators, informing the PSC that three allegations of unethical behavior made against Means in May don't warrant sanctions by the PSC.


  • In the Loop: Former UGA Professor Under Investigation by ICE



    Photo Credit: University of Georgia

    A former University of Georgia political science professor is under investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. 

    GBI spokesperson Nelly Miles confirmed today that the GBI is assisting Homeland Security in its investigation into Jamie Monogan, who formerly taught in the School of Public and International Affairs. 


  • In the Loop: Frances Berry Resigns From School Board


    Clarke County Board of Education member Frances Berry resigned Friday after just nine months on the school board.

    Berry was appointed in February to serve out the remainder of Vernon Payne's term representing District 2, in the northeastern part of the county. Payne resigned in December for health reasons.

    In response to a call seeking comment, Berry emailed a brief statement to Flagpole: "I joined the board hoping I could help make a difference, but I learned this year that I am not cut out for the stress of politics. I resigned in order to focus on my health and my family."


  • In the Loop: Funding Restored for Clarke Middle Renovations



    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    Clarke Middle School is back on the Clarke County School District’s ESPLOST project list.

    Superintendent Demond Means told school board members at a work session Thursday that he wants to restore $10 million for Clarke Middle renovations and postponing a new district headquarters.


  • In the Loop: Voters Overwhelmingly Approve SPLOST 2020


    Athens voters have overwhelmingly approved extending a local 1% sales tax for capital projects.

    Over three quarters of voters approved SPLOST 2020, which passed with 78.4% of 8,978 ballots cast. 

    SPLOST 2020 will last an estimated 11 years and fund $314 million worth of projects. Big ticket items include a new judicial center to replace the outdated and overcrowded courthouse, an arena at the Classic Center and redeveloping the aging, dilapidated Bethel Midtown Village affordable housing complex. That's in addition to 34 smaller projects, ranging from crowd-pleasers like park improvements to necessities like equipment for firefighters.


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