The Athens City school board on Thursday night voted on a separation agreement with Superintendent Trey Holladay, with the system negotiating a settlement payment of $250,000 for Holladay, who has been on administrative leave for four months.
The school board voted to place Holladay on administrative leave, at his request, on June 13, two days after the FBI confirmed it was at his Athens home in June as part of a law enforcement action. Assistant Superintendent Beth Patton was appointed acting superintendent, effective immediately.
“After a full review of the present situation and the uncertainties attendant with our circumstances, the board of education believes that it is both timely and appropriate to make a change in leadership and that such a change is in the best interest of Athens City Schools,” school board President Russell Johnson said in a statement.
“With that in mind, the board has agreed with Dr. Holladay to terminate Dr. Holladay’s contract,” and his tenure as superintendent will end on Oct. 31. Johnson said Holladay, who has been the superintendent since 2013, had almost two years remaining on his contract.
Johnson said that the school system has fully cooperated with “a federal investigation, and, per the superintendent contract, has continued to pay Holladay’s salary and related benefits.”
Holladay's salary was $186,134, divided into 12 monthly payments, according to Serena Owsley, Athens City Schools’ chief financial officer.
“The investigation remains ongoing and confidential at the request of federal officials,” Johnson said. He said the board has not been informed when the investigation might be concluded.
According to Johnson, the settlement payment resolves and eliminates any further compensation and other expenses which the school system may have been obligated to pay “related to this matter and provides us a financial savings and more certainty for our financial obligations under Dr. Holladay’s employment contract.”
Johnson said the board believes that the settlement is in the best interest of the school system and students “as it will allow us to move forward and focus on our school system’s future.”
In the weeks ahead, the board will begin the process and timeline for selecting a new superintendent, Johnson said.
“I anticipate that we will have a new superintendent in place very soon,” he said. “The school system is in good financial shape, and we look forward to focusing on fully reopening our schools safely, rebuilding Athens Elementary, and planning for the future growth of this community.”