Outcry Over $500K Payout Prompts Call For Resignation
School Board Asks Retired Superintendent To Give Up Consulting Job
Last Updated: 849 days ago
Wayne Township school board members are calling for the former superintendent to step down from his emeritus position with the district after 6News exposed a more than $500,000 payout.According to a copy of Terry Thompson's contract, he was paid a severance of more than $283,902 -- the same amount as his 2010-11 salary -- when he retired in December after 15 years with the district, 6News' Kara Kenney reported.Thompson also received $15,000 for "retirement planning" and was to stay on with the district for 150 work days as a "superintendent emeritus," for which he will earn $1,351.91 a day for more than seven months, the contract states.Most of the current school board members were on the board in 2007 when the contract was approved, but they issued a statement Thursday asking Thompson to step down."We are disappointed in what we have learned is in the financial impact of Dr. Thompson's contract," the school board said in an e-mailed statement. "We believe that his continued employment is not in the best interest of the school district, and today we asked for his resignation as a superintendent emeritus."Current school board members who approved the contract declined interviews with 6News on the issue.It was unclear Thursday evening if Thompson had offered his resignation. Lawmakers Respond Thompson's payout is now attracting the attention of lawmakers who say legislation is needed to hold administrators accountable."It's pretty amazing," Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, said of the retirement package.Soliday authored a bill that puts administrators on paid performance."There's certain things you have to achieve or you don't get additional pay. And, quite frankly, you can lose pay if you don't achieve things," he said. "We want to look at how we incentify and sign contracts with people, and we certainly don't want to reward with a severance package when you're not successful."Records from the Indiana Department of Education show that, under Thompson's leadership, Wayne Township Schools consistently came in below the state average in graduation rates and ISTEP scores.For example, in the spring of 2009, 60 percent of Wayne Township students passed their English ISTEP, below the state average of 70.8 percent.The pay for performance legislation, supported by Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, would also take into account an administrator's budgeting and fiscal performance."We want to push them along a little bit. We want to hold everyone accountable, and someone like a superintendent is not exempt from that," Behning said. "I don't think state government can control everything and, hopefully, taxpayers will scrutinize these things."The bill has a hearing in the Education Committee on Monday.Another bill working its way through the state Legislature honors Thompson for his service.Thompson was not at his temporary office when 6News stopped by Wednesday and district spokeswoman Mary McDermott-Lang refused to speak on camera with 6News about Thompson's contract.