Replacing a superintendent is expensive, reports the Chicago Tribune, which investigated more than 100 superintendent contracts, financial records and severance deals. Call it the golden boot.
Stanley Fields resigned after just a year as superintendent of a suburban Cook County school district where he was put on leave, faced with firing and ultimately required to apologize to the community. Still, he walked away with a $100,000 severance payment.
He also had prematurely left his prior job, at a Lake County high school district, cashing out $30,426 in unused vacation. The school board waived a $60,000 breach-of-contract payment from Fields, now superintendent in another Chicago-area school district.
School boards avoid lawsuits by offering money, unlimited cash-outs of sick leave and — in one case — a Mercedes. “In many cases, the money funding a buyout could pay one or more annual teacher salaries,” reports the Trib.
Short-timers get big buyouts. Superintendents who resign to pursue other opportunities get buyouts. Some get one buyout after another.
The Dolton District 149 board placed its superintendent, Doris Hope-Jackson, on remediation and administrative leave before she left the job in 2003. She was described in an evaluation as “very harsh” toward parents, taxpayers, board members and staff, among other criticisms.
. . . Hope-Jackson sued and got a six-figure settlement, including title to a Mercedes-Benz, records show. She moved to Calumet School District 132, where she departed when the board said it needed new leadership, and then to Michigan, where an Ypsilanti school board forced her out last year. She filed a lawsuit there, which is pending.
It’s Excellence in Failure, writes Jay Greene, who dreams of being paid to not do a job.
I can be harsh!