Dayton pays superintendent more than $100K to go away

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Dayton pays superintendent more than $100K to go away

Dayton Public Schools will pay Superintendent Rhonda Corr’s salary, full retirement contribution and health insurance benefits through July as part of a separation agreement in which Corr resigns from the district.

The deal was approved unanimously by Dayton’s school board Tuesday and had been signed by Corr on Jan. 19.

Corr’s base salary for Nov. 22 through July 31 — the period she is not working — is roughly $103,000. The value of her retirement contributions in that period are roughly $29,000, considering that the district covers both its own contribution, and Corr’s portion.

“It’s always emotional when you’re at this point,” new school board President William Harris said, emphasizing that the deal was a mutual agreement. “I feel that we have done the best in terms of an agreement for the district.”

Neither Corr nor her attorneys were at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“I loved the opportunity to serve Dayton and the children and the community. I will miss them and I wish everyone the very best,” Corr said in a telephone interview Tuesday night with WHIO-TV. Asked what’s next for her, Corr said only that she has some feelers out looking for opportunities.

DPS put Corr on paid administrative leave in November, accusing her of unprofessional behavior, creating a hostile work environment and falsifying documents. That came just seven weeks after the school board gave her an overwhelmingly positive performance review for her first year of work.

Corr was hired by DPS in summer 2016 on a one-year contract, and the school board extended that deal by three more years in February.

Harris confirmed what board member Sheila Taylor had said a day before, that the school board has not yet begun the search for a new superintendent. Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, who has received praise from Dayton’s teachers union, declined comment Tuesday when asked whether she is interested in the job on a permanent basis.

Many school districts are currently making hiring decisions, as Ohio law requires school districts to tell superintendents with expiring contracts whether they are keeping them or non-renewing them by March 1.

Harris expressed confidence in DPS’ plans to search for a superintendent.

“I don’t anticipate anything slipping through the cracks,” he said, adding that he hoped DPS would get strong candidates but couldn’t say that for sure yet. “We are going to begin the process of looking into this whole avenue of the superintendent. … We need somebody strong to lead the district.”

The separation agreement includes several standard provisions:

** The school district will “provide Corr with a neutral letter of reference, stating the dates of her employment and job duties while employed by Dayton.”

** Corr waves her right to reinstatement or employment and agrees not to re-apply for any DPS position. She will not go on DPS property without permission of board president and will not apply for unemployment compensation.

** Both sides agree that they won’t criticize each other, won’t sue each other, and both sides deny that they violated any contract, rule or law.

After the board’s vote Tuesday, DPS distributed an “agreed press release” that said Corr “successfully tackled numerous issues confronting the district and continued academic gains during her time as superintendent (but) both parties believe that moving forward is in the best interest of all involved.”

Harris repeatedly brought the focus back to the need for parents and teachers to educate DPS students so they will be successful in the future.

DPS is coming off a year in which it won $10 million in state grants, improved academic offerings, changed the start times of most schools, and fixed some long-running busing problems.

But at the forefront of many residents’ minds are repeated dysfunction at school board meetings, unprecedented state athletic probation for rigging a football game, a near-miss teachers strike in August, the second-worst test scores in the state, and now a move to close some schools because of declining enrollment.

“I think you always have challenges with a district this size,” Harris said. “I believe that we as a board and administrative staff are focused on what’s really important, and that’s educating our young people. We know that challenges do come, but we know how to work around challenges, and we look forward to the progress that will come as a result.”

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