Updated 8/28/13. On Aug. 19, the District 65 School Board unanimously approved a separation agreement with former Superintendent Hardy Murphy. Under the agreement, the District has agreed to pay Dr. Murphy $175,000, said Board President Tracy Quattrocki.
Dr. Murphy resigned as District 65’s superintendent on Aug. 12, effective Aug. 9. He had almost two years left on his employment contract.
Minutes before the Board voted on the separation agreement, Ms. Quattrocki said, "Understandably, our community has asked questions about the timing and circumstances leading up to his departure. In response to the community’s questions and in light of the fact that tonight the Board will formally approve the separation agreement with Dr. Murphy, we would like to briefly outline the terms of the resignation.
"After a few weeks of conversation, the Board and Dr. Murphy concluded together that his departure sooner rather than later made the most sense for the District," Ms. Quattrocki continued. "This timing allows Dr. Murphy to continue making a professional contribution to education by consulting while simultaneously giving the District an opportunity to focus on finding a new superintendent who will be in place to develop and implement a new strategic plan. As a result of these conversations, Dr. Murphy offered his resignation effective August 9, 2013.
"In agreeing to end Dr. Murphy’s employment contract two years early, the Board and Dr. Murphy decided upon the terms of his resignation contained in a separation agreement," Mr. Quattrocki added. "Before tonight, we had not commented publicly on this document, as it had not yet been approved by the Board. The Board has worked to be responsible fiscal stewards and believes that our agreement with Dr. Murphy achieves that goal. As I mentioned before, Dr. Murphy had two school years remaining in his employment agreement with the District, at an estimated value of approximately $600,000, inclusive of salary, retirement contributions, housing allowance, car allowance, sick leave, vacation days, health insurance and life insurance. As part of our separation agreement, the Board is paying Dr. Murphy $175,000. The Board agreed upon this amount as fair and respectful of Dr. Murphy’s 13 years of service to our District. The District has no further financial obligation to Dr. Murphy beyond this amount."
In a prepared statement issued on Aug. 12, Dr. Murphy said it was difficult to reach a decision to leave at this time, but that he and the Board agreed it was the right time. "The Board is at the beginning stages for developing a new strategic plan," he said, adding that the Board can best accomplish that with the leadership that will implement the plan. He said by leaving now, at this stage of his career, he can take advantage of a "window of opportunity to continue making a professional contribution to education while at the same time giving him and his family more time to enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer."
On Aug. 23, the Board voted to retain Barb Hiller as Interim Superintendent of District 65. (See link to story below) Ms. Quattrocki said the Board anticipates that the separation payment to Dr. Murphy and the additional salary and benefit costs for an interim superintendent will be approximately the same as the amount that would have been paid to Dr. Murphy had he stayed on as superintendent for the full fiscal year. The separation will thus be cost neutral.
Ms. Quattrocki thanked Dr. Murphy for his 13 years of distinguished service.
Board member Suni Kartha thanked him as well, saying there had been consistent growth in student achievement during his tenure and that he had implemented innovative programs, including bringing technology to the classrooms.
Board member Katie Bailey thanked Dr. Murphy for his hard work and many years of service. She pointed out some of the changes during his tenure, including implementing technology in the classrooms, sustainability, building improvements, financial stability, human resources, the Inclusion Program, the Two-Way Immersion program, and Everyday Math. She said Dr. Murphy had a fundamental belief that every child, regardless of background, can succeed.
Former Board member Kim Weaver said she was sad to see Dr. Murphy go. She said he had centralized the organization where all schools followed the same curriculum, and that he implemented the Inclusion Program and other programs.
The charts below show trends in student achievement on 12 Illinois Standard Achievement Tests during Dr. Murphy’s tenure.