Greater Clark School Board Will Not Renew Daeschner’s Contract

by Devin Katayama on December 7, 2011

The Greater Clark County Schools board has voted not to renew superintendent Stephen Daeschner’s contract next year.

Despite a rally held by supporters on Monday, and several who showed up in support at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board voted 5-2 not to extend his $225,000 contract, which expires next summer.

The vote was expected to happen later this month at a Dec. 20th public meeting. The board’s decision to move the vote up was partly based on the attention the issue received in the community, said board president Christina Gilkey.

While Gilkey agrees Daeschner has improved academic achievement, she said the board’s job requires more logistical decisions.

“What we have to deal with is much more diverse. Yes, there’s academics. There’s also extra programs, there’s also the budget, there’s also policy, there’s also personnel,” she said.

The district is trying to find $4 million worth of savings for next year’s budget; but part of Gilkey’s decision to vote against Daeschner was also based on his lack of a strategic plan, she said. The board has requested his administration form a plan that would make it easier to move forward on the same path, but that was never developed with the enthusiasm, she said.

“The reason that’s so important is because if we all work together on developing a plan that means we all work together on the direction we want to move in,” she said.

A strategic plan would help remove some disagreement among the board, she said.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t disagree ever, it would just be a lot less because we’re all agreeing that the decisions we’re making are part of the plan…a plan that we developed as a team together,” Gilkey said.

The board will continue discussing ways to keep Daeschner in a role that doesn’t include a $225,000 salary, which was a primary reason for the board’s decision. Daeschner’s new salary, if he decides to stay with the district, will likely be around $130,000, said Gilkey.

But what that job looks like is still unclear. Daeschner is forming a proposal that will be presented to the board in the following weeks, she said. Gilkey said she would like to see Daeschner in some form of academic leadership. His success since taking over as district lead in 2009 has been inspirational to many in the community. Test scores rose under his leadership and in many cases exceeded expectations.

The board also approved nearly $4 million dollars worth of cuts in next year’s budget.

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