Superintendent Dismissal Decided Before Meeting

   Written by on January 18, 2018 at 11:08 am

None of the five Charlotte County School Board members who voted last week to non-renew Superintendent Nancy Leonard’s contract responded to our requests for additional information. Leonard’s contract will remain in effect until June 30, 2019.

As several candidates and members of the board campaigned on removing Leonard from her position, the vote to non-renew rather than terminate indicates there were no substantial issues with her performance or conduct.

Oddly, the vote to non-renew and retain Leonard in her position is a vote of confidence in her character and ability. General business practices demand immediately releasing someone from their position and usually escorting them from the premises. This is done because a disgruntled employee, particularly one who is in a position of authority, can do a lot of damage.

Although no members responded, researching their social media accounts was revealing. JonPaul Berkley encouraged people to attend the meeting stating, “You don’t want to miss this.”

An unsigned request to amend the agenda was left at the member’s and superintendent’s desks just before the meeting.

This violated Leonard’s contract as the contract states,

“One year prior to the termination of this Agreement (no later than: June 30, 2018), the Board shall communicate to the SUPERINTENDENT its intent with respect to renewal of the contract of the SUPERINTENDENT. It shall be the responsibility of the SUPERINTENDENT to include this matter on the agenda of an appropriate and timely regularly scheduled board meeting.”

As the meeting began Berkley acknowledged leaving the paper and made a motion taking the matter into closed session.

Additionally, the wording of the request was revealing. It implies a decision had already been made. “Notice of non-renewal of Superintendent’s contract” is giving notice of a decision. That decision was made before the meeting. The memo was dated 9:25 a.m., giving Berkley ample time to follow prop-er procedure and to notify ALL board members and the superintendent as required by contract and common decency.

Our school system is a 23 million dollar industry with over 300 em-ployees and almost 2000 students. It must be run as a business adhering to ethical business standards as well as good manners.

We are not opposed to remov-ing a superintendent, administrator or teacher for good cause. In fact, this is covered in Leonard’s contract. If she violated any provision of this contract, she should be reprimand-ed or removed. However, none of the contract provisions seem to be the issue.

Board meetings should be run with dignity. Employees should be treated with dignity. The school board should be professional at all times.

Running our school system is not a game. Board meetings are not a “show.” Our schools are the most important industry in Charlotte County. Preparing our children for the future is what it is all about.

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