School board members voted 6-0 in favor of a separation agreement with Superintendent Pam Stranahan after hours in executive session at their Dec. 6 meeting.

Social media in Gardner was working overtime after the USD 231 Board of Education agreed to a Jan. 9, 2021 separation agreement with Pam Stranathan, superintendent. The district has not made a formal announcement regarding an interim administrative search, but a copy of a November e-mail between Lana Sutton, member, and the United School Administrators of Kansas was posted online and spurred debate. The information is said to have been received by a patron under a KORA request. It was sent to Rob Shippy, outgoing board president.

The district has not issued an official statement regarding the separation, or who will serve as interim superintendent.
The Gardner News made a KORA request for the document on Dec. 7 and received it Dec. 13 at a cost of $2.75.
According to the agreement, Stranathan is in good standing and voluntarily resigned effective Jan. 9. Under the agreement: The district shall pay Stranathan all compensation, benefits, and accrued leave due to her through June 30, 2023, of her current contract:

a. On or before Dec. 8, 2021, the District will pay Stranathan half of all compensation, benefits and accrued leave due to her through June 30, 2023, of her current contract, in a lump sum payment in the gross amount of $212,500.50;

b. On January 1, 2022, the District will pay Stranathan the other half of all compensation, benefits and accrued leave due to her through June 30, 2023 of her current contract in a lump sum payment in the gross amount of $212,500.50:
Item b and c include 18 months of paid COBRA coverage in the amount of $34,902.36.
At the Aug. 23, 2021 board meeting the BOE renewed Stranathan’s contract early. Two board members, Shaun Carlisle and Tressa Boden, had walked out and quit prior to the discussion and approval. Her salary in the contract was a $203,100 base. Although the contract specifies in the 2019 original that Stranathan was entitled to receive salary increases as determined to the board, no increases were specified in the extension.
Fifty some parents gathered outside the district Dec. 6 protesting and holding signs stating they were against a “golden parachute” —s an agreement between an employer and an employee that they will continue to receive certain benefits if they are terminated. Senator Molly Baumgardner, Kansas Senator commented that she didn’t think it was right to have  a Golden parachute for a school superintendent to be negotiated in closed session.
“Why not use the money to hire more teachers,” she said. “Don’t pay off the superintendent because you’re unwilling to help the future.”

Renewal: August 2021

 

 

Separation agreement via Facebook