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TIMELINE | Looking Back at the Dallemand Years | Schools

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TIMELINE | Looking Back at the Dallemand Years
Schools

The vote to buy out Dallemand's contract comes after two years of ups, downs, success and controversy.

13WMAZ takes a look back at Romain Dallemand's time in Bibb County.

2010

November 9, 2010 - Romain Dallemand, the then-superintendent of the Rochester, Minn. schools, is a finalist for the Bibb County job, selected by recruitment firm Proact. James Benfield, a superintendent in Yadkin County, NC, is the other finalist.

When 13WMAZ spoke to Rochester school board director Sandra Soltis, she said she voted against renewing Dallemand's contract there but said she thinks he reduced the achievement gap though she questioned if Rochester improved as much as Dallemand claimed.

November 10, 2010 - The Bibb County school board votes 5-3 to make Dallemand the new school superintendent. Board members Albert Abrams, Tom Barnes, Ella Carter, Tom Hudson and Susan Middleton voted for Dallemand; Chairman Gary Bechtel, Lynn Farmer and Susan Sipe were opposed. 

Bechtel tells 13WMAZ he does not think disagreements over who should lead the district will cause divisions among board members.

December 10, 2010 - The school board voted 6-2 to offer Dallemand a three-year contract paying $198,000 annually to lead the district. This was the second contract offer made by the board after he negotiated for a higher salary.

2011

January 31, 2011 - Romain Dallemand is sworn in as Bibb County Superintendent. In a ceremony at Central High School, he called on the community for help. He said, "You must be willing to work alongside me to make educating every child the number one priority of Bibb County."

March 11, 2011 - In a move claiming to save taxpayers $1 million, Dallemand cuts 16 office positions -- adding six new full-time and two new part-time positions -- in a reorganization of the administration.

April 26, 2011 - Dallemand hosts the first of six public forums for community members to sound off on issues in the school system. More than 300 attended the meeting at Northeast High.

May 6, 2011 - Northeast High School teacher Jadun McCarthy is named the Georgia Teacher of the Year. By July 2012, McCarthy had resigned from the Bibb County school district.

May 8, 2011 - More than 3000 students and parents attended the launch of Dallemand's summer reading program.

May 31, 2011 - Board approves -- by a 6-0 vote -- a $296 million budget, a $5 million increase over the previous year. It includes no furlough days but a cut of 52 teaching positions. 

June 9, 2011 - Board unanimously approves Dallemand's "Dream Team" of administrators, including two who worked for him in Rochester: Jane Drennan and Susanne Griffin-Ziebart.

August 10, 2011 - Westside High principal Laura Perkins is suspended with pay after Dallemand claimed she "attempted to appropriate grant funds for consulting services in violation of District policy by not following the bid process." By the middle of September, Perkins had returned to her job.

October 10, 2011 - Bibb school employees meet at the Macon Centreplex for a strategic planning session, which followed a September "brainstorm" by 4,000 people and ultimately leads to the creation of the "Macon Miracle." 

2012

January 19, 2012 - Six young men are accused of raping a 16-year-old special-needs student at Northeast High School. Parents are upset that they have not been notified. Dallemand says he is not aware the Macon police were not handling the investigation. Campus Police Chief Stephanie Prater is put on administrative leave but produces emails proving she kept her superiors informed. She returned to work in March.

The rape charges are dropped in February but by November, the special-needs student's mother files a lawsuit against the district.

February 2, 2012 - Dallemand gives his first year on the job an "A-plus," citing his listening sessions with employees and parents, creating a summer reading initiative, and developing a strategic plan. 

February 10, 2012 - The "Macon Miracle" is officially launched before an audience of students, educators, administrators and community members. There, Dallemand declares: "We are going to make it happen! We are going to make the Macon Miracle a reality in Macon."

That same day, charges from an alleged January 19 rape at Northeast High School are dropped.

February 16, 2012 - Dallemand addressed protests of the Macon Miracle during an interview with 13WMAZ's Candace Adorka. 

At the time, he said, "I don't see the comments and questions as negative. I see the comments and questions as individuals who want answers."

March 7, 2012 - The Bibb County Board of Education approves the "Macon Miracle" by a 5-3 vote. The three dissenting members -- Bechtel, Farmer and Sipe -- ask to delay the vote for time to learn more about the costs involved in the plan. 

Between the February unveiling and the March approval, Dallemand backs off a few of his original plans, like making the school week longer, reconfiguring the grade structure, closing up to a dozen schools and cutting a quarter of the teaching jobs.

March 12, 2012 - Parents and teachers worry training by Pacific Education Group will make county's racial divide worse through the "Courageous Conversations" program.

March 15, 2012 - An audit of school spending finds 150 district employees continued to receive pay more than 100 days after their termination. Auditors say they found payments that don't match district policies, including spending more on meals than the allowed amount.

April 10, 2012 - The state of Georgia estimates that only 51.34 percent of the Bibb County ninth graders go on to graduate high school. That figure is second lowest in Central Georgia with only Crawford County faring worse at 42.25 percent. Bibb was among the seven midstate counties with fewer than 60 percent of its ninth graders graduating. For 11 counties, the figure is 70 percent or better.

April 13, 2012 - A 2009 "whistleblower" lawsuit against Dallemand is settled by the Rochester Board of Education. Cheryl Coryea, who said she was fired for reporting "several actions by the superintendent that she believed to be illegal," received $320,000 in the settlement.

April 26, 2012 - Dallemand's travel allowance is increased by $5000 to total $15,000. In early May, he repaid the school district for his expenses to a conference in Belgium. The trip itself sparked controversy at an earlier board meeting.

May 2, 2012 - The state's Attorney General arranges a refresher on public information and sunshine laws after complaints by local media about the district's failure to respond fully to open records requests. Only two board members attend.

May 15, 2012 - The superintendent walks away from 13WMAZ's Katelyn Heck during an interview about his travel.

He tells her, "I don't want to talk about these things that are completely irrelevant and trivial, to be honest. So my advice to you as journalists would be to talk about issues that really have substance -- issues that truly matter, issues that really make a difference in this community. OK?"

July 23, 2012 - Then-school board member Gary Bechtel files a lawsuit against Dallemand alleging the superintendent made "unauthorized releases" of Bechtel's son's "private and confidential education records." It's the result of an audit that Bechtel calls a "witchhunt." In August, the school board agrees to pay Dallemand's legal fees in the case.

October 1, 2012 - The Macon Miracle's initiative to teach Mandarin Chinese to every student in every grade by 2016 goes national, landing on CBS Evening News. 

December 7, 2012 - Dallemand accepts a new three-year contract that replaces his previous contract. While leaving his annual salary at $198,000, his car allowance doubled to $800 a month and gave him 60 sick days in 2014. The contract offer was approved 5-3 by the board.

December 21, 2012 - Chief Financial Officer Ron Collier files a "whistleblower" lawsuit alleging he was demoted and moved out of the Mulberry Street offices for his refusal to release $1 million in school funds in a manner he believed to be illegal. Collier tells 13WMAZ the money was for a payment towards the Promise Neighborhood program.

2013

January 25, 2013 - Two board members anonymously tell 13WMAZ that Dallemand offered to step down if his contract is bought out. A lawyer for 13WMAZ says the contract requires one year's worth of salary and $70,000 for each year of service -- a minimum of $338,000. 

January 29, 2013 - Dallemand tells 13WMAZ's Candace Adorka he intends to finish the three-year contract he just signed.

February 25, 2013 - By a 7-1 vote, the Bibb school board buys out Dallemand's contract for $350,000. Lester Miller was the only dissenting vote.

February 26, 2013 - The transfer of $350,000 is made to Dallemand's account, officially ending his tenure as Bibb County School Superintendent. 

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