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Payouts to go to resigning Oklahoma City schools officials

Four Oklahoma City School District workers will be paid thousands of dollars in exchange for their resignations, documents show.
by Tim Willert Modified: February 11, 2014 at 11:50 pm •  Published: February 11, 2014

Four high-ranking Oklahoma City school district administrators will be paid thousands in exchange for their resignations, documents obtained by The Oklahoman show.

School district officials point to a leaner structure and hundreds of thousands of dollars in yearly savings.

Deputy Superintendent Sandra Park will collect $93,677 in severance pay and benefits; Chief Academic Officer Cindy Schmidt will receive $73,236; and Executive Director of Communications Kathleen Kennedy will be paid $51,330, according to resignation agreements signed Feb. 5 by interim Superintendent Dave Lopez.

The resignations of Park, Schmidt and Kennedy are effective Saturday. Their payments are due Feb. 28, documents show.

Senior Facilities Officer Terry Wolfe will be placed on administrative leave with pay until June 15, documents show.

Lopez recommended eliminating the positions as part of a district reorganization plan to improve academic accountability. The school board voted Feb. 3 to accept the resignations of the four executives and eliminate their positions.

A yearly savings from the eliminated positions will total more than $640,000 in salaries and approximately $140,000 in benefits. These funds will be redirected to fill vacant and new positions that will better serve students in the classroom and support principals and teachers at school sites.

“This leaner structure provides immediate benefits and will provide the incoming superintendent flexibility while he or she determines long-term structure plans,” Lopez said.

A fifth position — chief operations officer — also was eliminated. It went unfilled after Jim Burkey retired in September.

Lopez said Tuesday the positions were eliminated based on a need to streamline district operations and not on job performance, adding that all four employees are welcome to reapply for district employment.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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