Decatur board considering housing ‘stipend/subsidy’ for superintendent

During Tuesday’s Decatur school board meeting, Chairman Annie Caiola suggested that in coming months the board should consider “a housing stipend or subsidy to allow our superintendent to live in Decatur.”

Since becoming superintendent on Nov. 2, David Dude, his wife and three children have lived in a rented home in Oakhurst. He told the AJC Tuesday, “right now it doesn’t look feasible to purchase property in the city of Decatur.

“I’ve always lived within the district where I worked,” he added. “I believe I need to live here, to understand more about what’s going on in the community. I can talk more informally to people, I can interact with them.”

Dude’s current lease ends in October, though he says he’d prefer moving in the summer when work isn’t as hectic. For short-term purposes Dude may rent one of two houses owned by the school system, one next to Westchester Elementary, the other next to the College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center.

In the long term, the board may consider a stipend/subsidy not only for the superintendent, but also for selected staffers and teachers.

According to the median home value in Decatur is $442,400, although finding a single-family home in good condition for that price is nearly impossible. In the first year of a three-year contract Dude makes $179,000 not counting a potential $10,000 performance bonus.

Dude’s predecessor, Phyllis Edwards, lived in Stone Mountain during her 12½-year tenure.