Suspended leaders reach agreement to leave school system

Published 10:10 pm Monday, August 25, 2014

The agreements three Selma City School System leaders reached in early July to retire from the system reveal that all three are still on paid administrative leave.

Suspended Selma Superintendent of Education Gerald Shirley, testing coordinator Mammie Solomon and curriculum coordinator Wanda McCall were placed on administrative leave in February following the state intervention into the Selma City School System for school system problems. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice said in a previous interview with the Times-Journal that the school system problems were “largely administrative, including institutional control at the administrative level, academic integrity, student safety and use of human resources.”

In May, acting Selma Superintendent of Education Larry DiChiara recommended Shirley, McCall and Solomon be terminated. All three requested a hearing to contest the recommendation. Originally scheduled for June, the hearings were delayed while the parties involved sought out an agreement, which they reached in early July.

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The agreements, which were released to the Times-Journal after the newspaper submitted a Freedom of Information request, show all three have been on the system’s payroll since the agreements were reached, but all three will officially be retired effective Monday, Sept. 1.

Attempts made by the Times-Journal Monday to reach Shirley, McCall, Solomon were unsuccessful. DiChiara and attorney Dorman Walker, who was hired by the Alabama State Department to handle the legalities, declined to comment.

Each of the agreements detail the employees “shall be entitled to payments for all benefits” accrued up to and including Sept. 1, which included, but was not limited to, all wages, retirement, benefits, a accumulated sick leave, personal leave and all insurances in place.

According to the documents, Shirley, McCall and Solomon denied any good reason for their termination and averred to being a “good and valuable employee.”

The agreements also say the state will dismiss DiChiara’s claims that lead to his recommendation of the terminations. The state also agreed to not revoke each person’s teacher certificate unless new facts relating to [their] employment are revealed.

In February, the state board of education voted unanimously to intervene — or take over — the Selma City School System. The state said the intervention could last up to two years.