At the March 17 school board meeting, it was announced that assistant superintendents Dan Baker (he of the Fox C-6 Topix scandal) and Todd Scott (he of the nepotism hiring scandals) were chosen to be principals of Seckman Elementary and Seckman High, respectively. This caused much consternation in the community, but apparently SES teachers were pleased with the Baker decision, according to comments and cheers at the board meeting.
The board votes to make these hires were unanimous (6-0). Word is that incoming superintendent Jim Wipke played some role in the selection. Here are some quotes gathered from Facebook and emails to me:
- “I spoke to one of the board members on Saturday, he told me that in order to give Dr. Wipke a vote of confidence they (the board) were going to vote for whomever Dr Wipke and his committee decided upon. So in essence this was Dr. Wipke’s decision.”
- “I was told the exact same thing, Wipke was making the decision but I knew the board wasn’t going to shoot down his first recomendations [sic] on who he wanted in.”
- “Last night a Fox parent contacted us to tell us that she got a call from Wipke after sending him an email about how her daughter was having an Anti-Bullying Seminar and her concerns with allowing Dan Baker who was associated with the online bullying to be appointed as a principal. Dr. Wipke told her that she needed to meet with Dan in person because he thought she would be pleasantly surprised if she just met him in person.”
We know that the board played an improperly subservient role to the disgraced Dianne Critchlow when she was superintendent. It is not a good sign, I think, that the board is still so apparently willing to surrender its independent role in processes such as this.
According to information from the district, the two men will make the following salaries in 2015-16 (reduced due to their demotions):
- Baker – $124,000 (his current salary is $148,335, so he gets a 16% cut).
- Scott – $131,200 (current salary is $145,386, so he gets a 10% cut).
Fox C-6 Watchdogs has more on the hires, including Wipke’s participation in candidate interviews.
Crutchley Buyout (Palmer too?)
It was also announced at the meeting that acting superintendent Tim Crutchley will be retiring, even though his contract was renewed in January. I can confirm that he has indeed filed for the early separation buyout, which means he should be getting a payout of about $77,000 (half his salary). His wife, Kristen Pelster, district Executive Director of Curriculum and Professional Learning, has already claimed a $63,324 buyout.
The Post-Dispatch revealed in its election preview that incumbent board member (up for re-election) Dave Palmer’s wife Gee is also about to retire. One would think that she is also in line for a buyout, though I have not seen her name (yet) on any lists.