Former District 65 Supt. Hardy Murphy, who announced his resignation last week, will take home $175,000 as part of a separation agreement with the school district, according to board president Tracy Quattrocki.
Quattrocki announced the terms of the agreement at a board meeting Monday night.
“The board and Dr. Murphy concluded together that his departure sooner, rather than later, made the most sense to the district,” she said in a prepared statement. “We are very grateful for Dr. Murphy’s 13 years of service with the district, and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Murphy had two years left on his contract with the district when he announced his resignation last Monday, Aug. 12. According to spokesperson Pat Markham, his resignation went into effect Friday, Aug. 9.
The value of the last two years of his contract is roughly $600,000, according to Quattrocki, including salary, retirement contributions, health insurance, sick days, vacation days, car allowance and other items. She said the amount the board would pay to him in the separation package would have “little or no impact” on the district’s budget.
According to data obtained by the Family Taxpayers Foundation, Murphy’s salary was $229,662 in 2011.
Quattrocki said she expected the district to name an interim superintendent next week, and said the board would begin its search for a full-time replacement in September.
“We are very grateful for Dr. Murphy’s 13 years of service with the district, and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” she said.
A voicemail left with Murphy last week was not returned at press time. In a prepared statement supplied by the district, he said the decision to leave would allow him to continue making a professional contribution to education while spending more time with his family. He also acknowledged changes coming for the district in the form of a new strategic plan.
Speakers at the meeting expressed support and criticism for Murphy’s performance.
Retired teacher Vicky Proctor said she and other teachers were concerned about how the administration had treated its teachers.
“As the district we love enters a new administrative era, we look for collaboration and mutual respect between teachers and their administrators,” she said. “Teaching is best when teachers, with administrative support, design the programs for students.”
Meanwhile, former District 65 board member Terri Shepard said she was proud to have been a member of the board that selected Murphy as superintendent 13 years ago.
“After 13 years, every student of color in District 65 can see their future possibilities in Dr. Murphy,” she said.
Speaking to Patch after the meeting, Shepard said she wasn’t convinced that Murphy got a fair shake from the school board.
“I know he had two more years and he would have fulfilled those two years, given the opportunity,” she said. “They made it absolutely untenable for him to stay.”
Former board member Kim Weaver also said she was disappointed to see Murphy go. She said Murphy turned the district into a “mom and pop” style operation, where each school did its own thing, into a centralized, organized operation where all schools followed the same curriculum. She also noted that he oversaw the inclusion of special education students in regular classrooms, something she said was a major improvement for those students.
New board member Suni Gartha said she believed Murphy’s accomplishments included improving minority achievement, hiring high quality staff and bringing new technology to the classrooms. Former board president and current board member Katie Bailey praised his efforts toward improving technology, balancing the budget and renovating and expanding the district’s buildings.
“We have new HVAC, we have new classrooms,” she said. “I think we’ve seen improvements to every one of our buildings.”
Bailey also said she believed that the two-way immersion program Murphy led, which pairs native English speakers with native Spanish speakers, had made a positive impact on students.
“One thing that Dr. Murphy brought is the fundamental belief that every student, regardless of background and ability, could achieve,” she said.
Speaking at the meeting, parent Aaron Eddy said he hoped a future superintendent would carry on that legacy, and asked the board members to consider all segments of the community in making their decision on a replacement.
"It is vitally important that children of color see themselves represented," he said.