Action by Kootenai District school board members led to the resignation of the superintendent and a one-year buyout of her contract.
According to District Secretary Cindy Shannon the school district does not know what the buyout cost.
“We have not been given that information,” Ms. Shannon said.
Board of Trustees chair Ralph Kahn declined to reveal the cost of the buyout.
“This is a personnel issue and I nor any other Trustee cannot comment on it further,” Mr. Kahn said in an email.
According to the Idaho State Department of Education Kootenai District paid the superintendent $46,892 for the 2017-2018 school year.
The board voted in a special meeting on June 27, 2019, not to renew former Superintendent Lynette Ferguson’s contract and accepted her resignation effective June 30, 2019.
Ms. Ferguson became the district superintendent in 2010. She was the Kootenai elementary school principal before becoming the high school principal in 2008.
Board members Rich Meyer and Jon Verkist resigned after the other three board members voted against Ms. Ferguson’s contract renewal.
Mr. Meyer said the decision does not make sense.
“When the students are performing very well and the teachers are happy, why would you change the administration?” Mr. Meyer asked in an email. “[Ms. Ferguson] has the full support of the teaching staff and great results in teaching our students.”
Recent test scores back that up. Kootenai scored 351/400 on the Index of Education Quality—the worldwide average is about 268 to 273 according to Mr. Meyer. Kootenai also scored high on the SATs with a school average of 1082 making it one of the highest scoring districts in the state.
Asked if the board was satisfied with Ms. Ferguson’s performance as superintendent, Mr. Kahn, who voted against Ms. Ferguson’s contract renewal, spoke highly of her.
“Her financial skills are exemplary, and the district made great strides in the state’s testing program,” Mr. Kahn said.
When asked why Ms. Ferguson resigned Mr. Kahn said, “Mrs. Ferguson resigned, her reasons are for her to divulge if she wishes.”
Neither Ms. Ferguson, nor the three other school board members, responded to a request for comment in time for this publication.
The decision to renew or terminate Ms. Ferguson’s contract was a prolonged battle.
The negotiations are typically done in January, allowing the district time to determine its budget for the next fiscal year. At this time, it is unknown how the buyout of the contract or the hiring of a new superintendent will impact the 2019-2020 budget.
The board expects to have an interim superintendent in place by the end of this week.
“There has been no replacement hired at this time, however the Trustees are actively searching for a replacement. Trustees are also looking at an interim superintendent until a permanent replacement is found. Hopefully by the end of this week we will have an interim in place,” Mr. Kahn said.
Ms. Shannon confirmed that the district has received a letter of interest regarding the position for interim superintendent.