It’s feeding time at the public trough.
On January 26, The World reported that, after a year of turmoil that polarized our community, the Coos Bay Schools Superintendent has resigned effective June 30, 2016. Further, when she departs, she will be paid $164,061 (the purported value of the unfilled third year of her contract). The World published the resignation letter (stating in part that the superintendent expects to have a superintendent job next year), separation agreement, and a glowing two page letter of recommendation from the school board chairman. After the grief, the wasted time, and the wasted money that this past year of turmoil has caused the citizens of 97420, I wanted to barf when I read that letter. If Chairman Martin believes what he wrote, that this superintendent does all but walk on water, he should be on both knees begging her to stay. But wait, there’s more!
According to the separation agreement, it’s not $164,061 the people will pay directly or indirectly to the departing superintendent. It’s that amount (salary and benefits) plus unused time off, plus employee and employer PERS (match, URL and pick up), plus $12,500 to waive all claims that the superintendent may be considering against the school board (the people of 97420). No partridge in a pear tree? All things considered, it’s probably going to cost the taxpayers more than $200,000 to cure the board’s hiring mistake? It gets better!
Why $168K, why $200K? Another local government body eager to spend our money? The current and governing contract between the parties clearly states: a) the last full paragraph of contract item 4 gives broad powers to the superintendent; powers that were exercised and then reversed by the board, leading to a year of grief. The citizens were exposed to a big time legal suit. b) Annual salary (2016 – 2017) is $135,500; plus PERS, plus a generous benefits package, plus 20 days’ vacation, plus 12 days sick leave, plus 12 holidays, plus misc. expenses (not $168K plus); and, c) The contract is silent regarding termination for convenience. Other than for cause, the contract may be terminated only on terms agreed upon by the superintendent. Our teachers should be so fortunate. The contract is silent on a severance package per se. As written, the termination clauses are terrible for the citizens of 97420. Lesson learned?
Maybe it’s time for the school board to resign.
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