published Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Chattanooga: Scales’ buyout to cost $282,000


by Adam Crisp
  • photo
    Jim Scales

Hamilton County schools Superintendent Jim Scales will receive $282,111 for his early departure from the school system if school board members agree to buy out his contract Thursday.

The terms of his early departure were released today by the school system. Previously, school board attorney Scott Bennett said the buyout would amount to Scales’ yearly salary plus payment for his accrued vacation and sick days, but the official amount was not released.

Today, the school system released proposed buyout agreement, which was negotiated by Scales, his attorney and Bennett. Scales will receive one check that includes his yearly salary of $202,274, plus $62,981 for his accrued vacation time and $16,200 for his vacation time had he stayed through June 30, 2012.

On top of that, Scales will be reimbursed for attorney’s fees associated with negotiating the buyout. He also will continue to receive county health benefits until Dec. 31, 2011. This year he also became vested in the Tennessee teacher retirement system and will receive roughly $18,000 yearly from that program.

Earlier this month, Scales announced that he had been in negotiations with the school board to buy out his contract since February. Scales contract was set to expire in June 2012.

Board members must vote Thursday evening on whether to approve the contract buyout. If they do, Scales will make an exit July 1.

Mike Evatt, Everett Fairchild, Joe Galloway, David Testerman and Rhonda Thurman have all indicated they will support the buyout. Chip Baker, Linda Mosley, Jeffrety Wilson and George Ricks said they want Scales to finish his contract.

about Adam Crisp...

Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...

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dave said...

What a shame! First Register and now Scales. Will we ever learn. Stop throwing money around... TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY!

May 23, 2011 at 11:57 a.m.
chet123 said...

just dont replace with soddy-daisy superintendent

May 23, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
crow1033 said...

$282,000 to save Rick Smith's job! Wow! He must be very special to Rhonda Thurman! The rest of us get stuck with the bill for a superintendent that would be leaving next year anyway! I guess this eliminates the opportunity to do a proper hiring process for a well-qualified candidate and allows Rhonda and her boyfriends to stick Rick Smith in there! Way to go, school board!!

May 23, 2011 at 12:20 p.m.
sig4ever2 said...

Disgraceful political correctness run a muck. Good work if you can get it. He'll just have to sell his $495,000 home and buy another one in the next community he chooses to soak. What a life!

May 23, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.
sig4ever2 said...

Actually upon investigating further, I see he it was not political correctness that let him go as he was working under a contract. Actually pretty shrewd of him to bail early so he could collect a little vacation and relocation money. Still, our students exam scores seem to be no better off for his being here.

May 23, 2011 at 1:23 p.m.
Roy said...

The Hamilton County School Board has collectively proved that "Stupid" cannot be fixed. If he isn't functioning in accordance to his contract then he has broken it and is not due anything. Or make him stay for the duration of his contract and the school board overrule all his decisions and make him get out of the contract. I do however, suspect that a particular school board member who was elected in the last election has his eye on that position. Judging from the funds raised and spent on that person's campaign, something is suspicious. There either needs to be an elected Superintendent and no school board or a school board with no superintendent. As it stands on the superintendent answers to no one and in the past the school board has always rubber stamped anything the superintendent wanted. Perhaps the taxpaying citizens of Hamilton county would be better served if the school board was abolished and the superintendent be an elected position so the taxpayers would have a say in the matter.

May 23, 2011 at 1:52 p.m.
Roy said...

It, in my humble opinion, is wrong to hold the teachers accountable for the student's test scores. You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink. It is up to the student to learn what they are being taught and apply themselves. But, collectively, our society has reared a generation that has no concept of taking responsibility for their actions or the lack thereof. Teachers are being held accountable for the short comings of the parents who do not take child rearing seriously and that my friend is a crime against the teachers. They do their jobs and the students have to be held accountable for doing theirs. Now I shall get off my soap box.

May 23, 2011 at 1:59 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

I find this all interesting. Will they replace him with Rick Smith? I hope not. I had been in contact for weeks with Smith over the fact that Hamilton County schools are not following state law regarding fee waivers. State law says that the schools cannot charge fees for any school related activity that occurs during school hours...for ALL students. The law also states that students on free and reduced lunches can waive the fee for graduation. Smith and my school board representative, Mike Evatt, had 3 months to respond to this issue but never did anything. Many students were not able to attend graduation ceremonies. Totally ineffective leadership, i.e., no leadership

I know that the Tennessee Department of Education attorney was involved in this issue but Rick Smith ignored. This is dangerous for us taxpayers because we sure don't need a lawsuit. What if some of these students decided to sue for all of the fees that they have paid erroneously to be reimbursed...for their entire school careers?

If they are going to change it all up then I would like to see high school start times go back to a reasonable hour such as Knoxville did (8:30 am). Their graduation rate stands at 86.6% (up from 2008 of 79%) compared to our paltry 80.2%.

May 23, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.
Roy said...

They really don't care what they spend because it is not their money!!!!

May 23, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
docspop said...

Way to go Dr. Scales.Take these people for all they will give of our money.I don't blame him a bit.Get rid of the entire school board.The new ones cannot do any worse.Give this extra money they have to throw around to the teachers for supplies.I agree with Roy that the teachers do their jobs but they only have the kids for maybe 8 hrs. a day.What are the parents doing with them the other 16hrs.Most don't even see their parents till late at night and the most don't even ask or care about the child's school work.But as soon as little Johnny comes home with a failing grade it's the teachers fault.Parents take an interest in your child's school work.

May 23, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.
patriot1 said...

just another gold plated, pimped out, educrat.....next!!!!

May 23, 2011 at 6:29 p.m.

We can whine til the cows come home...nothing will change until the existing board is voted OUT. They are the real problem, especially the one who does hair for a living.

May 23, 2011 at 7:02 p.m.
rosebud said...

Sorry, Mr. HigherLevelThinker. But the "hairdresser" is the most popular, well-liked, most-respected School Board member in Hamilton County. There must be a reason. If you criticize her, you're criticizing the general public, because they're behind her....she's the voice of the people, whether you like it or not.

May 23, 2011 at 10:07 p.m.
jpsabredriver said...

Let him work his contract out....we don't have $282,000 to waste over this play favorites contest.... The Board hired him, make him work for his money.

May 23, 2011 at 10:35 p.m.

Hey rosebud, it's Ms. Higher Level Thinker.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion about the woman who does hair. Quite frankly I feel she's a loud mouth trouble maker and a really 'dumb' one at that. She is not even remotely close to being a voice for 'me' on the board, hence cool it with your thoughtless observations.

Let's leave the man alone already. He's 67 y/o and doesn't deserve all this useless criticism from those who probably have nothing more than a GED cert (if that). He came to our city as the most qualified candidate and has done so much in such a short time. You people would whine like a little puppy if Christ, himself, was our super.

May 24, 2011 at 1:26 p.m.
chet123 said...

Rick Smith is now indebted to Rhonda Thurmon...hmmm dont you see a model forming here(nepotism).....Shame on you Hamilton County School Board....first its Reynolds,then Register now Scales....dont let Rhonda Thurman have her way on everything...have some fortitude....you look weak....this lady is the Hamilton county "Sarah Palin".....we bring in professional with many years of training and expertise(many many thousand dollars in invested in education and traning) in Education and running School System....and Hamilton County allows a boonie hairdresser with 6 weeks vocational training(couldnt cut a 4 year degree..maybe invest few hundred dollars invested in training)to dismantle the school systems and topple one superentendent after another..SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE!!..now thats amazing....this woman have her own personal agenda(i can see her in the hair parlor being pat on the back..kin-folk telling her how great she is)...School Board members should have a 4 year degree...that should be the new policy...because this system is not working...THIS KIND OF POLITIC MAKES HAMILTON COUNTY LOOK VERY UNCULTURE,BACKWOOD AND COW-COUNTRY

May 28, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.
chet123 said...

The School Board have to be voted off....take the politics out of it....no hair dresser have any business playing expert with a pseudo intellect....the woman say she get her information off the internet....what a fool...you can put anything out there on the internet...whether true or false....its time to vote off and mismantle the school board...they have cost us too much money with foolishness

May 28, 2011 at 4:27 p.m.
chet123 said...

AND SENT THE "BOONIE RHONDA THURMAN" BACK TO MAYBERRY....SHAME ON THE HAMILTON COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD! YOUR CREDIBILITY IS GOING! GOING! GONE!

May 31, 2011 at 11:49 a.m.
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