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Wright’s settlement disclosed

Following the resignation of McCreary County Schools Superintendent Arthur Wright at last week’s special called meeting of the Board of Education, the Voice filed an open records request with Board Attorney Jeff Hoover for a copy of the settlement agreement.

This week the Board complied with the request and provided a copy of the six-page document, detailing the terms agreed upon between the Board and Wright concerning the remainder of his contract with the District.

In the document the Board contends that it had legal cause to terminate Wright’s contract, which was due to expire on June 30, 2016, but Wright denies that any cause exists.

To avoid potential legal action from Wright, which would certainly have proved costly to the Board and School District, both parties agreed to a settlement to “lessen and eliminate the potential liability exposure of both parties” and “permit the least disruption to the educational services provided to the students within the district.”

The agreement stipulates all disputes relating to the contract are resolved “without any admission of liability” from either the Board or Wright.

Wright agreed to resign from his position, effective December 31, 2015, as well as taking an immediate leave of absence,  and will not seek to return to active service before that date. The Board agreed not to take any action to remove Wright from the position.

Wright will receive his salary and benefits through the date of his resignation as per his original contract, but any potential bonuses or additional compensation will not be granted.

Wright will not be required to use his accrued sick time or personal days during the leave of absence.

The only financial terms included in the agreement, other than salary and benefits, concerns a payment of $44,820.69, apparently for a past payroll error on Wright’s health and dental insurance.

“The Board shall pay to Wright the sum of $44,820.69, representing amounts due Wright for his employee withholding of health and dental benefits not previously reimbursed by the Board for the period between November 2007 and June 2013,” it reads. The payments will be made in three separate installments over the next year.

Apparently, Wright was overcharged on his health benefits for more than five years, and was owed the amount he over paid during that time period.

Further terms of the agreement prohibit both parties from seeking additional damages concerning Wright’s contract or tenure in office.

It also prohibits either party from publically discussing the agreement or its terms.

“Both parties agree to handle Wright’s separation from the Board and his resignation and leave of absence in a professional and friendly manner and both Wright and the Board agree to refrain, now and forever, from disparaging each other, directly or indirectly, in any way.”

The agreement was signed by both Wright and Board Chairman Brandon Kidd, dated May 6, 2015.

The Board has appointed Aaron Anderson to the position of Acting Superintendent through the remainder of Wright’s leave.

At some point the Board will form a search committee and begin the process of finding a new Superintendent. The search committee will be tasked with reviewing all applicants for the position, once it is posted, and forwarding their recommendations to the Board. Those recommendations can be a single candidate, or several, and the Board can choose a successor from those candidates or request additional recommendations.

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