Catherine W. Idzerda" />

Delavan-Darien superintendent official out

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Friday, May 18, 2012
— It will cost the Delavan-Darien School District at least $283,000 to buy out the remainder of Superintendent Wendy Overturf's contract.

The Delavan-Darien School Board voted 5-1 on Thursday to end Overturf's employment with the district.

The board and Overturf signed a separation agreement stipulating that she will leave her post within seven days.

Overturf has been superintendent since 2007. Previously, she was principal at Darien Elementary School.

Under the terms of the agreement, Overturf will receive:

-- Her regular salary and benefits through June 30.

-- $150,000.

-- $12,000 a year for 10 years or family health care coverage for 10 years. Health insurance now costs the district $1,691 per month, according to business manager Carey Bradley. It's unknown how much the cost will change in the next decade.

-- Two years of basic dental coverage amounting to $1,000 a year.

-- Two years of contributions to the Wisconsin Retirement System amounting to $5,800 a year.

Overturf's annual salary is $112,000.

School Board President Jeffrey Scherer described the parting as an "amicable agreement."

"We appreciate the years of service Dr. Overturf has given to the district," Scherer said. "I know she's worked very hardó60- to 70-hour work weeks sometimes."

The board, however, would like to pursue "a new direction" for the district, he said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Overturf has seven days to change her mind, but she sent an email to staff Thursday announcing that she is leaving.

"While superintendent, I have always believed that it is my responsibility to challenge our current educational system, especially when our student achievement results show we have a significant achievement gap, not only among our students, but compared to nearby districts and the state," Overturf wrote.

She added, "I have always believed, as research shows, that teacher effectiveness and accountability are the most important factors for student growth and achievement."

In a phone interview, Overturf declined to comment, other than to say that she "loved her job."

Overturf's departure came nine months after a series of contentious meetings between the board and the community and six weeks after an election that changed the makeup of the board.

In August, several hundred community members met with the board to discuss their concerns about the atmosphere in the schools; communication problems between the administration, staff and the community; test scores; the achievement gap; and a variety of other issues.

Many of the parents began working together in informal groups and proposed changes to the board.

They met with mixed success. Many community members went on to join the district's strategic planning teams.

The April election was the first time in almost a decade that incumbent board members faced challengers. Several of the candidates said openly they wanted to get rid of Overturf.

On election night, Scherer said he'd like to see a new superintendent within a month.

At Thursday's meeting, the board discussed asking Bradley, the business administrator, to serve as interim administrator.

Last updated: 8:19 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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