The Teachers Retirement System of Georgia bases retirees' pensions on their "two highest consecutive years" of service.
The pay scales used for educators generally mean that those two highest years' pay also are the final ones of employment.
Likewise, when an employee quits or retires in any field, especially under a cloud, his or her career often is remembered most by recent service.
Seen in that parallel, teachers' retirement is blindly fair. And legacies are brutally honest.
Thus it is unavoidable, if somewhat unfair, that River Ridge Elementary School Principal Sandy Black's career might be remembered more for one pre-kindergarten lottery drawing than for her 32 valuable years of service.
Black announced her retirement last week. She says the controversy over her school's pre-k drawing had nothing to do with her decision, and trustees, some of whom were spitting fire amid allegations that the drawing was rigged, suddenly hid behind the "personnel" fig leaf rather than discuss Black's departure.
Whatever the reason, the timing of Black's retirement comes after undeniable tumult. School system officials believe the March pre-k drawing at River Ridge could have been skewed to favor the children of teachers hoping to get one of the school's 20 pre-k slots.
Though the discussion focused on folded entry cards and on whether educators conspired to rig the drawing, the elephant in the room that no one has talked about is that such a conspiracy couldn't happen without the cooperation of the person drawing the cards: Sandy Black.
Will her retirement take the heat off the investigation? It shouldn't. Even if Black is falling on her sword, that doesn't mean the issue should be dropped.
The unhappy ending also shouldn't prevent parents and educators from celebrating the fact that whatever happened during that drawing - if anything - in her last few weeks, Black still deserves thanks for her service to children during the past three decades.
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