After lawsuit threat from Superintendent Porter, South Washington County School Board offers resignation agreementThe South Washington County School Board is offering an agreement to avoid a threatened lawsuit from ousted Superintendent Mark Porter over his contract.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
The South Washington County School Board is offering an agreement to avoid a threatened lawsuit from ousted Superintendent Mark Porter over his contract.
The board met in closed session on Thursday, May 24, to discuss a threatened lawsuit by Porter related to a “dispute” over his contract, board Chairwoman Leslee Boyd said. Board members met with their attorney for about 30 minutes in private and then took a public vote to offer Porter “an agreement of release of claims.”
Board members made an offer to Porter that would require him to not pursue claims against the district, said Michael Waldspurger, attorney for the School Board. Waldspurger said state law prohibited public discussion of the agreement’s details until it is signed.
Board members did not publicly discuss the move. Porter left the meeting when board members went into closed session. He declined to be interviewed Thursday night and was not present when the board returned from closed session to vote for the agreement offer.
State law allows an elected body to meet in private to discuss with its attorney threatened or pending lawsuits.
The threatened lawsuit and subsequent resignation agreement could seal a tumultuous separation between Porter and the board.
A divided board voted in December to not renew Porter’s contract. That surprise decision came after at least one contract term apparently was violated when Porter was not given an annual performance review from the time he was started as superintendent in 2009.
Porter previously acknowledged he did not seek out the review during his tenure.
However, the board gave Porter a performance review on the same day they voted not to renew his contract. It was negative.
The Bulletin asked a state agency that interprets the Minnesota Open Meeting Law to review the board’s handling of that performance review and the timing of a public summary of the review. The agency recently issued a nonbinding opinion concluding that the board broke the Open Meeting Law.
Shortly after his contract was not renewed, Porter said in an interview he did not plan to sue the district.