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Hernando County school superintendent Wayne Alexander would get $22,000 under deal to leave early

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County school district would pay nearly $22,000 for a clean, early break with superintendent Wayne Alexander.

Alexander would receive $19,859 on Sept. 11 — what would be his last day — if a deal first reported by the St. Petersburg Times on Monday is approved by the School Board at a special meeting this week.

That is 30 days of salary and benefits, according to figures provided by the district's human resources department Tuesday.

The district would also pay Alexander a portion or all of a $2,000 stipend for earning certification through the Florida Department of Education. That stipend is noted in an addendum to Alexander's contract, but the agreement is unclear about whether the district would pay the entire amount or a prorated portion.

School Board attorney Paul Carland, who helped negotiate the agreement, did not return a call seeking clarification Tuesday.

The state will pay Alexander a second stipend for completion of the Chief Executive Officer Leadership Development Certificate. The specific amount of that stipend is set by the Education Department based on Alexander's performance on the program and was unavailable Monday. The range is $3,000 to $7,500.

The board will discuss the agreement at a special meeting set for 9 a.m. Thursday.

Alexander is in his third year; his contract expires June 30. He had said he planned to stay until then, or if he decided to leave early to join his wife and stepchildren in Connecticut, until a replacement was in place.

School Board support for the superintendent has eroded in the last seven months. At least four board members say it's time for him to go and supported Chairwoman Dianne Bonfield's request earlier this month to negotiate his early departure.

The deal up for a vote Thursday mirrors a clause in Alexander's contract that allows for a mutual separation if Alexander is given 30 days' notice. The contract states the board can pay Alexander for 30 days in lieu of his service.

Board members reached Monday by the Times declined to comment on the specific terms of the deal.

On Tuesday, board member James Yant said he wished the district could exercise its right to oust Alexander without paying anything if he breaches his contract. Yant maintains that Alexander did just that earlier this year by not informing the board in a timely manner of his search for jobs in New England.

But the board never investigated those allegations and so there probably are no official grounds for such a move, Yant said.

"I don't know whether we have any other options but to pay that," he said. "If we don't, I'm wondering if legal action would be taken (by Alexander) and we'd have to pay it anyway."

Alexander has declined to comment on the negotiations and did not return phone calls Monday and Tuesday.

Bonfield has not returned repeated calls seeking comment on the deal.

The board on Thursday is also expected to discuss Alexander's temporary replacement until someone is hired. Board members have said assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson seems to be the logical choice.

Tony Marrero can be reached at tmarrero@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1431.

Hernando County school superintendent Wayne Alexander would get $22,000 under deal to leave early 08/25/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:21pm]
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