Havre Publ ic School s Superintendent Dave Mahon resigned effective immediately Wednesday. Board of Trustees members unanimously accepted his resignation during a special meeting Wednesday based on a letter citing “personal reasons.” Board Chairperson Shad Huston declined to give specifics about the reasons because of privacy issues, but did say that no misconduct was involved. “We appreciate everything that Mr. Mahon has done for the district and we wish Mr. Mahon and his family the best,” Huston said in a press release. Mahon did not attend the meeting. Calls seeking comment to a number listed as Mahon’s residence were not returned. Huston said the letter of resignation was received Monday, but that the issue had been discussed for several weeks and that he and board vice chairperson, Aileen Couch, negotiated the terms. Mahon replaced Dennis Parman July 1 after an extensive search and interview process that cost approximately $10,000. Mahon signed a three-year contract starting at $97,000 per year with vacation and sick leave time as well as other benefits. Huston said that Mahon will be paid for the remainder of the school year until his entire salary has been paid. He told the Havre Daily News if the newspaper wanted any additional information about any further payments included in the package worked out between the board and Mahon, it should file a freedom-of-information request. Such information is public under Montana law. A request was filed immediately after the meeting. A copy of both the resignation agreement and joint mutual release agreement were made available this morning. According to the resignation agreement, Mahon will receive the remainder of this year’s salary with all benefits through June 30. On July 1 the remaining two years of the contract become void. Mahon, however, wi l l receive an addition $97,000 paid in increments of $50,000 by June 30 of this year, $23,500 by June 30, 2011 and $23,500 by June 30, 2012. The district will also provide a letter of reference to Mahon for future employment. Calls seeking further information placed this morning to Huston were not immediately returned. Andy Carlson, the district’s director of education, will temporarily take over the post until the board’s Tuesday, Feb. 9, meeting when Huston said he hopes that an interim superintendent will be chosen. An internal search will be conducted, he said, declining to comment on what form the search for a permanent replacement will take. School policies and procedures dictate that Carlson take the post in this situation, Huston said during the meeting. “This is an unexpected turn of events,” Huston stated in a press release. “However, under the circumstances it will be in the best interest of all parties.” Huston declined to say what those best interests are. During Mahon’s half-year tenure, among other things, he worked to secure stimulus funds for projects in the district, Huston said. Without his work, the Highland Park Early Primary School South addition, which will create enough office and classroom space for all the district’s kindergarten and first-grade students to be under one roof, would not have been possible, Huston said. “I think everybody’s just a little uneasy about the whole thing,” said Karla Bolken, the Havre Education Association’s president, about the decision after the meeting. After initial rough patches, “things have been running pretty smoothly,” she said, adding that she met with Mahon once a month. “And he’s been pretty open to our concerns.” Negotiations for teachers’ contracts are set to begin next month, and she said teachers are a “little nervous” about how the process will go with the upheaval. “I think the sooner we get started on a search the better,” she said, because that will hopefully give a better chance of finding a good candidate. “The trustees have kept us as informed as they can,” Carlson said this morning about the decision. “It’s not a point right here where we’re going ‘Oh, no, how are we going to do this,’” he said. “We’re trying to operate business as usual as best as we possibly can.” The decision is one that no one necessarily wanted, he said, but he’s only in the post temporarily until the trustees have a chance to work everything out. “And we’re going to do what’s asked until that time.” Carlson said that his son attended school yesterday, and everything ran smoothly. “Our day-to-day operations, they’re running well ... and that’s the important part.” If anyone has questions, “as always, give us a call,” Carlson said, at 265-4356.
Mahon resigns superintendentÃƒÂ¢Ã¯Â¿Â½Ã¯Â¿Â½s post after seven months
Published: Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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