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BOE seeks new leader for district

COAL GROVE — Dawson-Bryant Board of Education went into executive session Monday afternoon to discuss the process to fund a new superintendent following the retirement of Dennis DeCamp.

DeCamp’s retirement will be effective June 30, and the board is beginning its search for a new superintendent immediately to increase the chances of a smooth transition. DeCamp was hired to the post in 2008.

“It’s not like this is something we do every month,” Brad Miller, treasurer, said. “The board has asked the Lawrence County Education Service Center to assist in this process. Dr. (James) Payne, county superintendent, was invited (Monday) night to talk the board through the process.”

Miller said because the situation is so rare, the board is simply taking the appropriate steps to ensure it doesn’t miss anything.

DeCamp submitted his letter announcing his retirement at the Feb. 21 board meeting, Miller said.

“We adopted a timeline for posting the position,” Miller said. “I’m putting together an advertisement now. We are going to start accepting applications now through April 5.”

Miller said the board will review the applications after the deadline and interview viable candidates. He said it is fortunate DeCamp will be in place until the end of June to give ample time to find a quality replacement.

DeCamp’s decision to retire comes after a change in state pension law would cost him thousands if he retired after June 30, Miller said.

“Massive changes are being made to the retirement system,” DeCamp said. “I had to look at my situation and where I was in my career and see which scenario would best fit me, my family and my future. The most significant thing is the cost of living allowance changes. People who retire before July 1 will receive the (cost of living adjustment) increase, whereas those who retire after would not.”

DeCamp said at 52 he is too young to put up his hat for good, but the State Teachers Retirement Group forced his hand with this law. He said it is not fair when someone else dictates a person’s retirement.

While he does not know what his next move will be, if all goes well it would be an accurate statement to say he would be better off in the end, DeCamp said. After his retirement becomes effective, he can begin looking for work again. He said once hired he would lose his retirement benefits for two months, but then they would begin again, and he would draw retirement benefits as well as his salary.

DeCamp said hiring a retiree is controversial, but in the end organizations do what is best for them – and what’s best is hiring the best candidate with the most experience, he said.

No more hiring specifics were discussed during the meeting, Miller said. He added it is expected more information will be given in one of the first two board meetings following the April 5 deadline.