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Stafford schools chief submits resignation

MORE: Read more Stafford County news

Stafford School Board members appeared shocked Tuesday night after Superintendent Randy Bridges announced his resignation, a year before his contract was slated to end.

Bridges will leave his job as head of the school division on July 31. He presented his resignation letter to the School Board in a closed session, then left the meeting without comment.

Bridges will return to North Carolina to spend time with his family, a press release stated.

But Bridges’ resignation comes in the middle of a contentious budget fight between the School Board members and county supervisors. Tonight, the budget staff is slated to bring a proposal that could mean pink slips for quite a few school employees.

Stafford’s Board of Supervisors required the School Board to cut about $1 million in administrative costs, which Bridges said could only mean giving some employees the ax.

Bridges was no stranger to such debates, as he previously led school systems in North Carolina, which—like Virginia—is one of the few states where school boards don’t have taxing authority and have to defer to other county officials.

The Stafford School Board voted unanimously to hire Bridges as superintendent on Dec. 6, 2010, paying him $198,700 a year for the job.

He was the county’s first black superintendent since schools were desegregated, and his contract wasn’t slated to end until June 2014.

He’d spent the previous 13 years as the superintendent in three different school systems in North Carolina and South Carolina, and he’d been a principal, assistant principal, head basketball coach and high school teacher.

“My visits to classrooms across the division have consistently revealed that our teachers are among the best I have seen at their craft,” Bridges said in his statement Tuesday.

School Board Chairwoman Stephanie Johnson said that Bridges will be hard to replace, and that the board will appoint an interim superintendent until a permanent leader can be found.

Amy Flowers Umble: 540/735-1973

aumble@freelancestar.com

 

ACTION DELAYED

The Stafford County School Board postponed a vote on the early retirement incentive program Tuesday night. The board will discuss the issue in a budget work session tonight.

The program’s changes could increase the costs, and the School Board members said that they didn’t want to vote on something needing additional money without discussing the school budget more.

Tonight’s work session will be held at 6 p.m. in the Alvin York Bandy Administrative Complex.

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