From the Post-Dispatch:
Embattled Fox Superintendent Dianne Critchlow will retire Oct. 31 and receive a payout of $130,299 in the wake of cyber-bullying allegations.Her husband, Jamie Critchlow, was fired.
I guess we should all applaud Jamie’s chivalrous act, taking the fall for all of the dirty, libelous web posts so his wife can get off scot-free? But she’s not just walking free, she’s taking cash with her. She will continue to collect her massive $260,000 salary through October, while not performing any duties, and get on top of that a payout. A PAYOUT! Incidentally, that payout is about $5,000 more than Jamie’s salary, so perhaps it was a buyout for him in reality. Could it be that this was a negotiated settlement demanded by superlawyer Chet Pleban, who is representing the Critchlows? Perhaps not, according to KMOV:
Critchlow will get a lump-sum payment of $130,299 upon her departure, which is part of a long-standing retirement program that allows an employee to get 50 percent of their previous year’s salary.
That sounds like the stupidest policy ever, and it needs to stop right now.
What’s probably going on is that the board is afraid of a lawsuit if they fire Dianne. They think she’ll say in court that her hubby made all the posts and she had no idea it was going on. Well, I say take the $250,000 Diannne will be paid between now and her retirement and put that in a legal defense fund (to which I would even donate). That will buy a lot of lawyer hours. Dianne will be hard pressed to win her case when the jury 1) reads some of those internet posts and 2) learns what her salary was at Fox. Besides, she’ll be busy fighting for her life in the libel suit against her. I say call her bluff.
And what about this:
Critchlow perhaps not leaving? “She has the ability to stay there for another 2 years. She has not applied for retirement,” says her lawyer.
— Leah Thorsen (@leahthorsen) June 12, 2014
Are they so happy with her golden parachute, and the ease with which it was attained (only one no vote on the board to not let her resign – that from Steve Holloway) that they decided to try to hold out for more? Could be. They might succeed when faced with comments like this, from school board president John Laughlin in the Leader:
Laughlin said the administrators have contracts, so the district can’t just fire them.
And you know what the contracts say? You can fire them for cause.
He also said this:
“We’re working to find the most efficient, least expensive, right thing to do so we can put this behind us and so we can focus on what our real jobs are – looking out for the health of the school district, whether student achievement or fiscal responsibility.”
Laughlin keeps acting like this is just some sideshow, but it is the main thing – providing oversight of the administration. This school board, on which Laughlin has served for three years, has been nothing but a rubber stamp for the administration. That’s perhaps why the pay – and number – of senior administrators is so unconscionably high.
We also see in the Leader that “Nearly all of the district’s 58 administrators got a pay increase this past school year.” This group was already the 2nd highest paid, on average, group of administrators in the state. And the district wonders why it’s facing a $5 million deficit (other reports say $7 million). On this:
“It’s hard to come up with a solution when you’re not sure about the (budget) information you’ve been getting,” Laughlin said Monday. “Once we know the brutal facts, it won’t be as challenging to find a solution.”
I don’t have confidence in what’s been shared with me over the past three years. It’s difficult to come up with solutions when the top of the administration is figuring out how to retire.”
Why wasn’t he sure about the budget information? Is this another cause for termination of the superintendent – failure to keep the board apprised of the district’s financial situation? And why the sudden concern about top administrators? This should have been addressed by now. If he’s serious about this, then it is time to start laying off top administrators and attempt to spare the rank and file from the budget ax.
Laughlin has learned one lesson, though:
But should she retire, those pondering a run to be the district’s next superintendent shouldn’t count on a similar paycheck.
“I think it’s disproportionate and obviously doesn’t make economic sense,” said School Board President John Laughlin, who estimated the next superintendent will earn in the $165,000 to $185,000 range.
When did he realize she was being paid too much? She signed her most recent contract in January 2013- perhaps this could have been addressed before that?