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030518-BETTENDORF-SCHOOL-BOARD-018

Superintendent Michael Raso speaks to board members about facility plans during a meeting at the Bettendorf Community School District Administration Center on March 5, 2018.

The Bettendorf School Board approved on Monday the resignations of two central office administrators, plus approved the second vote required to prevent the superintendent’s contract from automatically renewing into the 2020-2021 school year. 

The Topic: Director of Special Services Kay Ingham’s resignation was confirmed Friday, and her letter of resignation criticizing the board was posted with Monday’s agenda. The district confirmed Director of Operations Chris Andrus was on medical leave Friday, and his job was listed as an “anticipated opening,” though that qualification has since been removed from the listing. His name was added to the personnel recommendations to be approved as part of the consent agenda Monday, less than 24 hours before the meeting. 

The board had voted in March not to automatically extend Superintendent Mike Raso’s contract beyond June 2020, the first of two votes required to prevent the contract from rolling over, Board President Adam Holland said. At a May 14 meeting, the board failed to terminate Raso’s contract, for want of a second. 

The Discussion: While initially presented as a consent agenda item to be voted on in bulk, the board elected to remove the personnel recommendations as an individual item, to be discussed and voted on separately. While several board members said Andrus was leaving “big shoes” to fill, the discussion was mostly on the publishing of Ingham’s letter of resignation with the agenda, which said the board was not supportive or respectful of administrators. 

Director Mike Pyevich asked Raso why it was published, and Raso said Ingham requested it be shared publicly. After being pressed by board members, Raso confirmed he could have decided not to share it.  

“Publishing this letter did the district no good,” Director Paul Castro said. “I think this just brings more negativity to the district. I don’t understand the logic of this being for the public to see, and I disagree with this decision.”

Director Gordan Staley said he was frustrated Andrus’ resignation was added to the consent agenda so late, and said it could have been “easy to miss.” The agenda and documents are typically posted publicly the Friday before the meeting, so directors have the weekend to review. 

Next Steps: After the meeting, Holland said was optimistic about the turnover in the central office. 

“I’d like to look at it from an opportunity standpoint,” he said, adding that Brietta Collier, the new director of finance and business services had been a “fantastic addition,” and he was hopeful the new hires would be as well.

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