Superintendents Job May Be Next To Go At Debt Ridden School

Friday, April 6th 2007, 4:00 pm
By: News On 6

A financially-strapped Green Country school district debated the fate of its leader until late Thursday night, but there is still no decision on whether Catoosa's superintendent will keep his job. The News On 6’s Ashli Sims was there when the Catoosa school board announced its decision. She reports the ordeal is far from over.

Catoosa superintendent Larry Cale started Thursday nights meeting by defending his plan to lay off 13 support employees. Before the night was over, he was also defending his job. The school board met in executive session to decide whether to dismiss the 30-year-educator.

"They have to get rid of Mr. Cale. He's got to go," said parent John Rogne.

Larry Cale was leading the district when it began tumbling $600,000 in debt, and many hold him responsible.

"He's in charge of this school district, so he should know where every penny is, and not spend it until he has it in hand," parent Vicki Tramel said.

In a letter to the board, Cale says the district's financial crisis is "not his fault," but that of the district's former financial director. Cale, who's set to retire in June, went on to say it's unacceptable for the board to push him out before then, and he let them know if they tried, they would have a legal battle on their hands.

After more than two and a half hours in executive session, the Catoosa School Board decided not to take any action on superintendent Larry Cale's employment, at least not right now.

"A settlement agreement will be voted on Monday night's board meeting," School Board President Jeff Conklin said.

Conklin would not elaborate on the terms of the settlement. He did say the board couldn't act because the item wasn't on the agenda.

“We can't do anything, because it wasn’t an agenda item to enter into any kind of agreement with him,” said Conklin. “That wasn't the agenda item that was posted so we weren’t in any position to adopt any kind or execute any kind of agreement until it’s an agenda item."

Larry Cale is in his third year with the district. He's set to retire on June 30th.

The board will likely vote on the settlement at its next board meeting, April 9th.

Related stories:

3/6/2007 - Budget Shortfall Could Mean Fewer Teachers

3/7/2007 - Teacher Layoffs Prompt Walkout

4/5/2007 School's Debt Could Lead To The Firing Of Superintendent