Greene Co school board ends Van Cleave’s contract

Tables decision on administrative salaries

The Greene County board of education at a special meeting Wednesday passed a motion unanimously to consider the termination of the contract of Intermediate School principal Maranda Van Cleave at the end of the current school year. The 2016-17 school year is the first year in Van Cleave’s two-year contract.

Superintendent Tim Christensen had planned to make a recommendation of which principal’s contract to terminate in January. The decision has taken until this month, with May 15 a deadline set by Iowa Code for administrative contracts.

The motion stated that the termination is due to needed staff reduction and it cites Iowa Code Section 279.25. According to that section, “an administrator may be discharged at any time during the contract year for just cause.”

The board’s motion came after a closed session with counsel as allowed by the Open Meetings law to consider strategy where litigation is possible.

The closed session lasted an hour and 10 minutes. After meeting with counsel, board members felt that the district’s financial situation would be viewed as just cause for terminating Van Cleave’s contract, according to Christensen.

He affirmed Thursday that her termination has nothing to do with her job performance and is based solely on the district’s finances.

The board tabled a decision on administrative salaries and benefits until further discussion is held with administrators.

The administrative salary committee recommended 1.68 percent salary increases for all administrators. Christensen and district business manager Brenda Muir both said they would take no increase. Total cost to the district would be $11,007.

But, according to committee spokesperson Teresa Hagen, there were concerns about the increase. Hagen said the committee met just prior to the special meeting and decided to meet with administrators before recommending salary increases to the board.

Board member Steve Fisher asked what those concerns were. “They’re all over the board,” was committee member John McConnell’s answer. There were sparks between Fisher and board president David Ohrt when Fisher asked if the concerns should be discussed in open session. Board member Mike Dennhardt quickly made a motion to table a decision; the motion passed unanimously.

The board accepted the resignation of science teacher and half-time activities director Dean Lansman, and approved contracts for coaches and extra duty assignments, Teacher Leadership positions, and classified staff. The board approved the first reading of a new policy dealing with meal charges and approved a request for additional sick leave for teacher Deb Rogers.


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