Delta school chief sacked after good reviews
Former Delta School District 50 Superintendent Mike McMillan will receive a little more than $130,000 as a condition of his recent resignation.
Tuesday was McMillan’s last day as head of the district. He submitted a resignation letter to the Delta School Board on Jan. 19. McMillan said Friday “a majority of the board” asked him to submit his resignation.
“I was disappointed with that,” he said.
McMillan said the board asked him to sign a unilateral termination of his contract, contingent upon his resignation. A unilateral termination agreement means no reason has to be listed for why the superintendent is leaving. McMillan said the agreement includes one year of his $124,000 superintendent’s salary, plus a payout for 10 unused vacation days.
“Since they had to buy one year of the contract out, it’s difficult for the taxpayer,” he said.
Delta District 50 Personnel Director Bill Carlquist confirmed the terms of the agreement Friday afternoon. He said he wasn’t sure about the exact dollar amount but thought $130,000 sounded correct.
Carlquist said his office had not been informed how much interim Superintendent Jerre Doss, who replaced McMillan on Wednesday, will be paid or how much the district plans to pay its next permanent superintendent.
McMillan said he received good reviews from past school boards, staff and parents during his seven years as superintendent. But he butted heads with three new members of the board after they were elected in November. He wanted the district to continue with a plan to have all Delta School District 50 buildings implement a new curriculum to match new state standards by Jan. 2. The new board decided Dec. 13 to allow principals to extend the deadline for switching curriculum to August.
“That was part of the initial difficulty,” McMillan said, adding he and the board also disagreed on the roles superintendents and board members should play in making district decisions.
Kathy Svenson, who started on the board in November along with newcomers Pete Blair and Tom Mingen, agreed McMillan and some board members had different feelings about when principals at Delta 50 schools should have to implement new statewide curriculum standards. She said she also thought McMillan didn’t always listen to the board, his staff or community members.
She said the new board is not to blame for disagreements with McMillan.
“He had issues with us,” Svenson said. “He was upset with the board, but we didn’t do anything to him.”
Other board members did not return calls for comment about the review or McMillan’s resignation. Mingen said the day after four board members voted to accept McMillan’s resignation that the board met with McMillan twice, once in December and once in January “to try to work out differences.”
The board met again in January in a private session without McMillan, and a majority of board members decided it was time for McMillan to leave, according to board member Tammy Smith, who voted against accepting his resignation. She said in January the push to seek McMillan’s exit was driven by new board members.
‘AN OUTSTANDING JOB’
Three months before four School Board members voted to accept his resignation, McMillan received a mostly glowing review from board members.
“The Delta County Board of Education finds that the Superintendent, Mr. Mike McMillan, is doing an outstanding job for our District,” begins the two-page review.
The document, dated Oct. 13, 2011, goes on to highlight McMillan’s leadership and budget-management skills and commitment to student achievement as his strengths.
There are some flashes of later concerns expressed by the new board about McMillan. One complaint in the review said McMillan needs to allow administrative staff “the opportunity to make key decisions without being micro-managed.”
The review also said the board “feels it is important to be developing a plan of continuity with someone who can take over if something was ever to happen to Mr. McMillan and for some reason he was unable to continue as superintendent.”