Arthur Culver had negotiated a departure settlement from the superintendency in Champaign, Ill., before he became one of three finalists for the DeKalb County school chief’s post, according to a story in the News-Gazette. The newspaper used the Freedom of Information Act to unearth the settlement agreement and report on it.
(I want to take a moment here to praise the tenacious and excellent reporting by the News-Gazette. Their staff is terrific.)
Both the Champaign school board and Culver agreed that he would resign from his job. The question was never whether he would leave the district, but when he would go.
A reader from Champaign who has been following the DeKalb saga sent me this comment: “Though Board of Education still is mum on other issues that can’t be FOIA’d. I think once you read the article your community should be informed that your transparency process did not turn Culver’s candidacy off, it helped him not find a hideout in your district. Transparency is good.”
Arthur Culver will receive $75,000 as part of a settlement with the Champaign school district, an agreement that has been in the works for months.
Under the terms of the eight-page settlement agreement, obtained by The News-Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request, Culver agreed to step down as of June 30, and the district will continue to pay his monthly health insurance premium through Sept. 30 unless he gets another job.
The agreement says Culver and the Unit 4 school board “agree not to make derogatory or disparaging comments, or negative references, with respect to the other party.”
The agreement further states that any inquiries from prospective employers will be answered consistent with the terms of a mutually agreed-upon letter of reference; and that the community was to be notified about Culver’s resignation through a joint press release.
The Champaign school board approved the settlement agreement Monday and announced his resignation on Tuesday.
Culver has been open in the past few weeks about his desire to move on. He was a finalist for a superintendent job in the DeKalb County school system in metropolitan Atlanta, but he withdrew his name from consideration for that job Monday.
He is leaving Champaign without a job in hand, and with three years remaining on his employment contract with the district. There have been rumblings for several months about his potential departure from the district.
School board President Dave Tomlinson said the settlement agreement has been in the works “for a few months.”
“Both the board and the superintendent agreed that it was time for new leadership,” he said. “The board and the superintendent think many great things have happened, (successfully ending) the consent decree particularly, but it’s time to build on those foundations, re-energize and move forward.”
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog