S. Washington County school board votes against renewing contract

  • Article by: DAAREL BURNETTE II , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 16, 2011 - 11:26 PM

South Washington County Superintendent Mark Porter said the decision was surprising and unfair, but he will not contest it.

Mark Porter, South Washington County schools superintendent, will not contest what he says was a "surprising" and unfair move by the school board not to renew his contract for next year.

The board voted 5-2 Thursday night to give notice to Porter, who worked in the district for 30 years before being hired as superintendent in 2009, that his tenure would end on June 30.

Porter said, based on his contract, proper procedures weren't followed.

"People are going to have different perceptions of fairness," said Board Chair Leslee Boyd, who voted not to renew the contract. "That's as far as I can take it.

"Anything related to the superintendent's performance is inappropriate for me to discuss. I appreciate the years of service he has provided to our schools and wish him the best in future endeavors. I plan to continue to work with him for the remainder of his contract."

Porter said the board had recently met in private without him to do his first-ever evaluation.

"I didn't see any results of the evaluation until this morning when I asked for them," Porter said Friday. He wouldn't reveal the evaluation's results. "I did know in the past couple of weeks that this was a possibility, but I didn't know it to be a certainty," he said.

Porter said he won't challenge the board's decision and will spend the months ahead looking for another job.

"I'm not going to leave here under the auspices of a contested matter," he said.

Porter touted improved student achievement, financial stability and increased enrollment of about 600 students -- to 17,400 -- among his accomplishments.

"I think the district has been doing a tremendous job, and I think that's referenced in public opinion surveys and what I've been hearing throughout the district," said Board Member Jim Gelbmann, who, along with Board Member Laurie Johnson voted against the motion to not renew Porter's contract. "I think the superintendent is part of the credit for that success. ... It would be very difficult to find a replacement of the caliber of Mark Porter."

Boyd said board members will discuss in January how they will go about replacing Porter, who is paid $159,000 a year.

Daarel Burnette II • 651-925-5032 Twitter: @DaarelStrib

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