The Milton School District and its insurance company will pay $447,000 in severance pay and compensatory damages to two high-ranking administrators resigning in June.
School board President Joe Martin said in a statement that the district will pay less than $80,000 of that amount. The district’s insurance carrier will pay the rest.
The amounts are contained in resignation agreements for Superintendent Tim Schigur and Director of Administrative Operations Jerry Schuetz obtained by The Gazette on Monday through Wisconsin’s open records law.
Schigur will receive $148,500 in severance pay over the course of one year beginning Aug. 1. He also will receive a lump-sum payment of $148,500 for “compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees,” according to his agreement.
Schuetz will be paid two lump sums of $75,000, one for severance and another for compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees, according to his agreement.
The school district announced May 1 both administrators were voluntarily resigning effective June 30.
Schigur’s and Schuetz’s contracts are effective until June 2020. Their contracts allow termination without penalty or prejudice under a mutual written agreement between the board and administrators.
In exchange for the payments, Schigur and Schuetz agreed to waive any and all lawsuits and legal claims against the district and school board, with the exception of claims made against board member Brian Kvapil in a March 21 cease-and-desist letter from Schuetz’s attorney, according to Martin’s statement.
Terms of the agreements were accepted by board members during earlier closed-session meetings, Martin said in the statement.
During Monday night’s school board meeting, Kvapil disagreed with the wording in the statement because there was some deviation from the terms outlined by the board in closed session and what was negotiated.
Three changes were made in negotiation. These included:
- A $1,000 difference in the amount paid to Schigur.
- A change in benefits for Schigur shortening the length of time he will receive health insurance from the district.
- A change to how long Schigur will receive payment. The agreement originally said he would receive payment until he found employment, but he will instead be paid for 12 months, Martin said.
Martin reached out to each board member to discuss the negotiated changes before signing the agreement, and he said each board member agreed to the terms.
Kvapil said he gave the OK for those negotiated changes, but he disagreed with the wording in Martin’s statement that said the terms of the agreements were decided in closed session.
Kvapil also expressed concern that board members were not given copies of the agreements for prior review. He was the only board member to vote against the meeting’s staffing report, which included the resignations.
Schigur will continue to receive health insurance from the district until Aug. 31, according to his agreement.
In his augmentation of the records, Schigur said the school board’s dysfunction has negatively affected himself, administration and the community.
He reiterated that the investigation into employee compensation found he did not violate district policy or state law when former board President Tom Westrick approved a $10,500 stipend to go to Schigur for completing his doctorate.
In February, Kvapil released documents to the media revealing payments given to Schigur and Schuetz, which sparked an investigation into employee compensation.
Attorney Lori Lubinksy found Schigur and Schuetz committed no wrongdoing but that Kvapil violated the state’s open records laws by releasing the documents without allowing the administrators a five-day augmentation period, according to the report.
“The false accusations levied and carried forward by board members have created an agenda of hatred towards me as an individual and towards members of the district’s administrative team. The failure to provide due process demonstrates that these false assertions were nothing but attacks driven by the personal agendas of various individuals in the school board and within the community,” Schigur wrote in his augmentation.
Schuetz will not have to repay the district for professional development and educational expenses, according to the agreement.
Schuetz’s contract allows for reimbursement for college courses, but the administrator must give that money back up to a certain amount if the administrator leaves the district, depending on how soon the administrator leaves after receiving the reimbursement.
Records obtained and shared by the Milton Courier show Schuetz has been reimbursed $33,665 in tuition since 2015.
Schuetz’s contract says he would have to repay some or all of his reimbursement for any payments received in the last four years. His resignation agreement waives that stipulation.
Per the agreement, the district will provide Schuetz a “positive letter of reference” and verbal recommendations for use with prospective employers.
Schuetz will receive a lump-sum payment of $100 per day for up to five unused all-purpose days and a lump-sum payment of $367.44 per day for unused vacation time.
Schuetz in his augmentation said the release of his records has been cause of “social and emotional distress” for himself and his family.
“... The inability or unwillingness of all seven board members to fully commit to improving our relationship and support the administration moving forward found my family and me believing that this would continue to be a potentially emotionally unhealthy and unsafe position to work in going forward, thus we agreed it best for all to separate and move forward,” Schuetz said in his augmentation.