1st Day On Job = Paid Leave For New DeSoto Superintendent

DESOTO (AP) – A newly named North Texas school district superintendent agreed Monday to take a paid leave of absence as trustees re-examine her previous administrative post in the Atlanta school system, which is embroiled in widespread allegations of cheating on standardized tests.

Trustees of the DeSoto Independent School District held a lengthy closed-door meeting that lasted late into the night before Superintendent Kathy Augustine read a statement announcing she was taking the leave of absence effective Tuesday.

“Please know that I understand your need for thoughtful deliberations about my appointment,” Augustine told the trustees after announcing the decision, which she said was reached after “mutual consideration.”

The board voted to select Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services Levatta Levels as the interim superintendent. After Augustine announced she was taking leave, the trustees took no immediate action on a proposal to terminate her employment.

Georgia investigators found that 178 educators there had cheated on standardized tests used to meet federal benchmarks. Augustine has repeatedly denied having any knowledge of test cheating as Atlanta’s deputy superintendent but acknowledged Monday that some of the educators she once believed in “violated a professional trust.”

“I’ve spent my entire career working to improve student learning, so it broke my heart to read how some educators chose to shortchange children by altering test documents,” she said. “For my part, I recognize we could have done a better job putting tighter controls on test security.”

DeSoto schools hired Augustine in April to the $188,000-a-year job in the district, which has some 9,000 students in the Dallas area.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Felicity says:

    She’s sure got a sweet deal! On the backs of the taxpayers, she makes $188,000 and she now doesn’t even have to work and she remains on paid leave! No wonder our education system and the funding thereof is going to hell in a handbasket!

    1. Lamonte says:

      its called innocent until proven guilty. surely you can understand that? don’t need a lawsuit for false accusations which would pay millions $$

  2. Chunkie Jones says:

    Wilmer-Hutchins all over again.

  3. Elmer says:

    Admit that you made a stupid mistake and fire her.

  4. darrell says:

    @ lamonte and 2sister

    i agree with you both on the fact that all races, ethnicity etc commit these and other crimes while in the employ of the people.
    statisticly however, minorities by far commit these types of crimes more than the “majority” do. and its not even close. all you have to do is follow the local news to see this proportionate imbalance.

  5. jerry peters says:

    All implicated and found guilty should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law….but, two of the three district attorneys who will make the decision whether or not to pursue prosecution are black. Will there be justice or will they “walk?” Perhaps law respecting citiizens of all colors should participate in a march for truth, justice and the American way!

    My children, unfortunately, are awaiting the outcomd of this sordid mess.

  6. emily phelps says:

    I taught in Austin and students were actually expelled for individual acts of cheating. I can’t imagine the consequences for being involved in large scale conspiracy and cover-up! The Atlanta and Desoto students must learn a lesson from watching those responsible receive due punishment.

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