Big payout to former Sumter school superintendent

08/27/2013 8:58 PM

08/27/2013 9:06 PM

Former Sumter School District Superintendent Randolph Bynum will receive more than $180,000 as part of the settlement agreement reached between the former administrator and the district's board of trustees, the district announced Tuesday.

The $182,070 Bynum will receive is the equivalent of one year's salary for the former district head and will make his tenure with the district officially end on Friday. In return, the settlement calls for Bynum to "cooperate fully with reasonable requests for information and assistance from Board members and Acting/Interim Superintendent Dr. J. Frank Baker, as may be necessary or desirable," according to a statement from Shelly Galloway, spokeswoman for the district.

The finalization of the settlement came during a 75-minute executive session of the board during Monday night's workshop session, a meeting which saw very little open session activity.

By paying Bynum a full year's salary, the board has agreed to compensate Bynum more than they would have had to if the board had simply terminated his contract. Under the severance agreement he would have received nine months of his salary, about $131,000.

Chairman Keith Schultz remained tight-lipped regarding the rationale for the settlement amount on Wednesday, saying only "that amount was reached upon in agreement with our legal counsel and our entire board, and as far as why that amount was done, that was a negotiated amount."

Bynum announced his plan to resign last month after public pressure against the superintendent had been building for some time. His position with the district began to appear very tenuous in early July when, after a six-hour executive session at a specially called meeting of the board, trustees called for Bynum to address several issues facing the district. These included a potential South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigation into the exit exam testing practices at Sumter High School, widespread disapproval within the teaching community of the SWEET 16 evaluation system installed by Bynum's administration and concerns about a standards-based report card system put into place for the district's lower grades seemingly without proper staff training and grading protocols.

In a meeting after his resignation announcement, the trustees announced they were going to allow Bynum to take the remainder of his vacation time and installed Frank Baker as the interim superintendent. As part of that decision, the board also decided that Baker could not be considered when they begin the process of selecting a permanent replacement. Schultz said the board is now focused on moving past the recent developments.

"I look forward to what the future holds for Sumter School District, and I'm excited about that," Schultz said, adding that an official search to find a permanent superintendent has not started.


In response to the announcement Tuesday, Bynum issued a statement saying the mutual decision will allow all the parties to move ahead.

"The announced settlement closes, hopefully, a chapter that will allow the Sumter School District to move forward, as well as myself, and benefit the most important people in the district, which are the students," Bynum said. "I also want to make it clear that I initiated the resignation process. I was never asked to resign or threatened with termination by the board. But, to quote an old saying by Nelson Mandela, 'when the elephants fight, the grass suffers,' and I didn't want the children to suffer because of adult issues. The children are what is most important with me, and if my moving on will help the children, then that's what I'm about, and that's what I'm for."

"I wish nothing but the best with all the great people that I worked with in and out of the school district, because Sumter, despite some of the negative people that I encountered, is truly a great place to be, and I wish them nothing but the best," the former superintendent concluded.

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