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Hernando County schools, superintendent Wayne Alexander negotiate his exit deal

BROOKSVILLE — The school district appears to be in a high-profile game of Let's Make A Deal to arrange for superintendent Wayne Alexander's early exit.

The official line is that the talks with Alexander are ongoing.

"We continue in our negotiations and discussions," School Board attorney Paul Carland told the board at the end of a special meeting Monday called to discuss a separate issue. "We don't have a final resolution as of yet but we continue to look at options as I've gotten direction."

Comments made by board Chairwoman Dianne Bonfield after the meeting indicated Alexander is willing to make a deal and doesn't plan to fight the effort to remove him soon rather than wait until his contract expires in June.

"It's moving," Bonfield said of the negotiations.

The question appears to be the terms of the deal, according to Bonfield. Presumably, when will Alexander leave, and with how much money?

"This is not a firing," Bonfield said. "This is an arrangement. Is it going to be 30 days? Is it going to be 60 days?"

Alexander's contract gives the board the power to fire him for "misfeasance, malfeasance or corruption in office, incompetency, insubordination, immorality, breach of contract … substantial deviation from performance standards … or for any other just cause."

There also is a clause that allows Alexander and the board to reach a mutual agreement for his departure. In that instance, Alexander is guaranteed 30 days before the termination takes effect. Or, the board can agree to pay Alexander for the 30 days and tell him to leave immediately.

Alexander's base salary is $125,545, so a month's pay is about $10,500.

Bonfield and other board members have said they hope to keep any payment to a minimum.

Bonfield also has said she would move to terminate the contract if a deal can't be reached.

Until last week, she had supported Alexander even as two other members urged his dismissal for being what they considered to be less than forthright about his search for a job in New England.

But at the end of the board's regular meeting last week, Bonfield said she'd lost faith in Alexander because of the admissions debacle at Nature Coast Technical High School and reports from elementary teachers that administrators have encouraged teachers not to give zeros for missed assignments or F grades below 49 percent even though that is not the district's policy.

Board member Sandy Nicholson, who also had supported Alexander, also said last week that a change in leadership is needed sooner than later.

The board had already approved a time line and search procedure to have someone hired by February and in place by July 1, and Bonfield said she thinks the district should stick to that goal. Assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson appears the likely interim candidate until a replacement is hired.

The board's next regular meeting is Sept. 1, but a special meeting could be called sooner to discuss an agreement with Alexander.

Alexander has declined to comment and did not return a call Monday.

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

Hernando County schools, superintendent Wayne Alexander negotiate his exit deal 08/17/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 17, 2009 6:42pm]
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