Delavan-Darien Superintendent offered buyout

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
— Some members of the Delavan-Darien School Board want to get rid of Superintendent Wendy Overturf—so much so that in a recent meeting two board members asked her to consider a buyout of her contract, which isn't set to expire for another two years.

Board President Jeffrey Scherer revealed to The Gazette on Tuesday that he and newly-elected board member Joe Peyer met with Overturf on April 12 to tell her the board likely would not continue to support her as the district's superintendent.

Scherer said that he and Peyer told Overturf at the meeting that the board might offer her a buyout and that she should consider taking one.

Scherer said Overturf had an attorney at the meeting, and she indicated she was interested in negotiating a buyout.

"It was clear to her she did not have the board's support," he said.

At the same meeting, Overturf tentatively agreed to step down as superintendent by May 9, even though she'd said earlier she planned to retire in April 2014, when her two-year rolling contract expires, Scherer said.

Overturf has been superintendent since 2007.

Scherer's comments came following a board meeting Monday that included the swearing in of five newly-elected board members and a closed session during which the board discussed Overturf's employment and other personnel issues.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Overturf confirmed she'd met April 12 with Scherer and Peyer, but she would not confirm whether she's agreed to negotiate a buyout and to step down by May 9.

"I didn't say I wouldn't consider it," she said.

The board exited its closed session Monday and adjourned without discussing Overturf's status with the district or voting on any items, Scherer said.

The new board has been public about its discontent with Overturf, with multiple members, including Scherer, telling the media earlier this month they'd like to get rid of her, possibly as early as May.

Scherer said some board members believe a new superintendent could turn around the district's lagging test scores, its sagging enrollment and plummeting staff morale.

"We're just not improving. We need to get some new thinking, new direction, and try something different," Scherer said. "It's time for new blood, a new district."

If the board did decide to part ways with Overturf and offered her a buyout, the district could have to pay her two years worth of salary because of she's on a two-year, rolling contract, Scherer indicated.

She was paid $112,329 in 2010, according to Gazette reports.

Overturf said she has no immediate plans to accept a buyout, and she said that as of Tuesday, neither the board nor the board's attorney had contacted her over negotiations.

Overturf said she was not in the room during the board's closed session Monday night.

Overturf said as far as she's concerned, her plan to retire from the district in 2014 stands. She defended her tenure as superintendent, pointing out that she's gotten positive reviews all five years. She said she's going about her job as she normally would.

"For me, it's business as usual. I have meetings tonight, and I'm going to be heading to negotiations. I'm going to continue to do what I always do," Overturf said.

Last updated: 8:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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