The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

April 19, 2013

East Central OKs separation pay

MILES — A number of East Central School District employees will receive cash payouts as they step away from the district, the East Central School Board decided Monday.

After closed session discussion, the East Central School Board agreed to give Superintendent Neil Gray a $100,000 separation package that will be paid by June 30 barring Gray's acceptance of a position equitable to the position he currently holds by July 1. In that case, Gray would be given a $75,000 separation package.

The amount will be paid in a lump sum before the East Central and Preston school districts merge to become Easton Valley on July 1. Board members Ryan Jargo and Roger Kilburg voted against accepting the separation package.

Following the vote on the separation package, Gray, who also serves as the principal for preschool through sixth-grade students, submitted his resignation effective June 30 to avoid the Easton Valley School Board taking other steps.

"Easton Valley wants to move forward without me," Gray said. "Which means they would have to terminate me."

According to the Iowa Code, a school board needs just cause to terminate a principal.

"We chose this route instead of a legal route," Gray added.

The Easton Valley School Board late last year decided to hire current Preston Superintendent Bob Lagerblade as the interim superintendent to serve until July 1, when a permanent superintendent would be hired.

East Central School Board members also approved an early retirement plan for nine East Central staff members. Six teachers and three support staff members will receive half of their base salary that will be paid in two installments beginning January 1, 2014.

District officials' early estimate pegs the total amount of the early retirement offerings would be around $109,000.

The Easton Valley School Board recently approved an $8.2 million budget based on the district costs, unspent balances, preschool funding, instructional support levy and miscellaneous income from both the East Central and Preston school districts.

Easton Valley Business Manager Adam Crigger could not be reached for comment on how the separation package or the early retirement agreements would affect Easton Valley.

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