UPDATED: Scales agrees to negotiate on early exit - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATED: Scales agrees to negotiate on early exit

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Jim Scales says he has agreed to negotiate with the School Board on leaving before his contract expires.

Superintendent Scales made the announcement in a news conference Tuesday.

Dr. Scales' contract expires June 30, 2012, but negotiations have been underway since February between his attorneys and School Board attorneys to expedite an end to his employment with the school district.

According to one Board member who has seen the letter, Dr. Scales is demanding his final year's salary, $208,000, as well as his 24 annual vacation days and health insurance. 

When asked if he would feel guilty about taking a year's salary without working, Dr. Scales replied "not at all."

Five of the nine Board members -- Rhonda Thurman, Mike Evatt, David Testerman, Joe Galloway and Everett Fairchild -- are said to be in favor of buying out Dr. Scales' contract.  The remaining four -- Chip Baker, Linda Mosely, George Ricks and Jeffery Wilson -- have made it known they support Dr. Scales serving out his contract.

At the news conference, School Board Member Jeffery Wilson said race probably played a role in the board's decision to ask Dr. Scales to step down.

At first, Dr. Scales voiced his intention to serve through June 2012, but has decided to step down if his demands are met. 

The earliest the board could accept the agreement would be 15 days from now. The School Board is required give 15 days notice for an unscheduled meeting.

The School Board has announced a specially called meeting for May 26 to discuss the possibility of a buyout of Dr. Scales' contract.

If Dr. Scales and the board agree to the terms of his departure, Scales' last day would likely be July first.

Deputy Superintendent Rick Smith is believed to be the choice of most Board members to replace Dr. Scales.


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