The Bibb County Board of Education approved an agreement ending Sharon Patterson's years as superintendent.
The board agreed to pay her $198,000 to buy out her contract, according to the agreement handed out by the board.
By a 6-2 vote Monday night, the board approved the deal after a one-hour closed session.
Patterson says she'll retire March 1. She also says the board approved an agreement that she proposed.
Patterson said she is leaving because of allegations that she failed to report misconduct by three principals to the state Professional Standards Commission. She says she's done nothing wrong and handled the complaints fairly.
The complaints against her and two subordinates are "meritless," she said.
But she said the allegations are disruptive and cast a shadow over the school district.
"I believe it is unfair to the school district, its dedicated employees, the 25,000 students who attend our schools, and me to continue to be subjected to the turmoil that currently exists in our school system," Patterson said.
The board met at 6:30 p.m. Monday and immediately voted to go into closed session.
After an hour, the board returned to public session and voted on the deal. Two of the board's eight members -- Lynn Farmer and Susan Sipe -- voted against approving it.
Lynn Farmer says she thinks Patterson would be paid too much money in the settlement the board approved. Susan Sipe couldn't be reached for comment.
Board President Gary Bechtel briefly thanked Patterson for her years of service and her "tireless hours" working for the district's children. He wished her luck
After the meeting ended, Patterson spoke, recounting her accomplishments and challenges as superintendent. She said they included building projects, fiscal independence and taxing authority for the school board, and getting the school district out of federal desegregation oversight.
She said her current contract with the board, which expires in June 2011, didn't include provisions for renewal, because she expected to retire then.
Patterson became the district's first female superintendent in 2000.
She was paid more than $249,000 in fiscal 2009, according to the state's Open.Georgia.gov web site. That made her the state's seventh-highest-paid superintendent.
Bechtel says Deputy Superintendent Sylvia McGee will take over the superintendent's duties in Patterson's absence. He says at committee meetings on Thursday, February 11, the board could discuss possible candidates for short-term interim superintendent.
Bechtel says they'll pursue a national search before hiring the district's next superintendent, which he thinks could take a few months.
Board member Susan Middleton says now, she hopes the community can come together, and embrace the work of the public school system.
"Controversy distances people," Middleton said. "Unfortunately, I think some people in Bibb County like that."
Several Macon and Bibb County leaders are weighing in on Patterson's departure from the school district.
Macon City Councilman Rick Hutto says, "the removal of the superintendent certainly does not remove the issues facing the school board. We know the biggest single issue facing economic development in the area is a lack of an educated work force, and until the school board is ready to face that and until the community is ready to offer the resources necessary, that issue is not going away."
Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen says, "it's way past time that she step down. The board still has a lot more to do, there are others, you know you can't just get rid of the head, there are others that need to go also and I hope the board looks at that, and it's time to clean house at the school board."
Macon City Councilman Larry Schlesinger says, "with graduation rates and dropout rates what they are, I think the writing's on the wall that a change is necessary."