The Cobb County Board of Education extended Superintendent Chris Ragsdale’s contract at a meeting on Thursday.
Like last year, it was a split vote, with some board members indicating they did not want to add another year to the contract.
Here’s what you need to know about the move by the state’s second-largest district.
What does this vote mean?
The board voted to extend Ragsdale’s contract by one year, to February 2026. Superintendent contracts in Georgia aren’t allowed to last more than three years — so the extension keeps Ragsdale’s contract term as long as possible under the law.
Did anyone object?
The vote was not unanimous. The board’s four Republican members voted to extend the contract. Two Democrats — Leroy “Tre’” Hutchins and Becky Sayler — voted against the extension. Democrat Nichelle Davis abstained.
Board member Randy Scamihorn, a Republican, said Ragsdale is the longest-serving superintendent of any metro Atlanta school district, and that Cobb has shown a steady trajectory of “improvement and stability” during his tenure. Scamihorn cited academic achievement and initiatives, financial security and voter support of an additional sales tax for education purposes.
Hutchins said he has not seen progress in Cobb translate across the entire county. Sayler had questions about part of the contract that allows Ragsdale to complain if board members “embarrass him.”
How much does Ragsdale get paid?
Ragsdale’s base salary is $350,000. He also gets 25 vacation days per year, a 12% employer contribution to a retirement fund, a $1,200 monthly automobile allowance and other benefits. Thursday’s vote did not deal with compensation.
Was there enough public notice?
The board has routinely renewed the superintendent’s contract since he assumed the permanent role in 2015. But community members often point out when the discussion is not part of the board’s agenda and the contract document is not made public for review prior to the vote. As a personnel matter, the board is allowed to discuss the superintendent’s contract during a closed meeting, but must vote publicly. This touches on a repeated critique of the Cobb school board: That action often feels rushed at the expense of gathering public input.
What else is worth noting?
Sayler said she voted against extending Ragsdale’s contract because she wanted to discuss the contract’s unusual exit terms. Under the contract, Ragsdale can take action if board members “embarrass him” or interfere with his performance. He’s entitled to 90 days’ notice if he is to be terminated without cause. And if a panel decides that the board has “harassed” him repeatedly, Ragsdale can terminate his employment through another hearing and collect severance pay equal to the remainder of his contract. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in 2021 these provisions were unusual among metro Atlanta superintendents.
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