Seattle school board expected to discuss future of superintendent

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by ROBERT MAK / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on February 28, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 28 at 8:48 PM

SEATTLE -- Seattle Public Schools board members will meet in a closed session Tuesday and are expected to consider the future of Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

Board members said last week that Goodloe-Johnson's job was on the line after it was revealed that the district lost up to $1.8 million in a scandal involving misuse of public money and allegations of fraud.

School board members must decide how much blame rests at the feet of Goodloe-Johnson.

Seven months ago, the district extended her contract for three more years. But the contract does have outs. It gives the district the ability to fire Goodloe-Johnson for cause, described as "serious gross misconduct or dishonesty" or "willful or continued failure to substantially perform her duties."

The state auditor says the district lost up to $1.8 million, with questionable expenses from a program designed to help small businesses bid on government contracts.

But was that gross misconduct by the superintendent?

Goodloe-Johnson told one investigator the problems were "too far down" in the organization for her to know the details.

An ethics investigation ordered by the district found "no evidence" that the superintendent had direct knowledge of what was going on.

If the board tried to fire Goodloe-Johnson for cause, the superintendent would be entitled to a hearing with her attorney present.

Another option for the board is waht's called "unilateral termination" without cause. All that requires a majority vote of the board and they don't have to prove misconduct.

Instead of paying Goodloe-Johnson through 2013, they would give her a severance worth 12 month's salary and benefits. Her current salary is $264,000.

Goodloe-Johnson could also resign, both parties could mutually decide to end the contract, or the district could choose to keep her on staff.

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