The West Ada School District Board of Trustees voted Monday to terminate former Superintendent Linda Clark's contract rather than accept her resignation, saying Clark had violated the state's professional educators code of ethics.
Trustee Russell Joki made the motion to terminate the contract, saying that Clark had:
1) Abandoned her employment and breached her contract, a violation of the Idaho Professional Educators Code of Ethics principle XIII, subsections A and B; and
2) Violated the professionalism code of ethics (principle X, subsection D), which involves “using institutional privileges for the promotion of political candidates or for political activities, except for local, state or national education association elections.”
Clark declined to comment and said she would leave that up to her attorney, Erika Birch.
The vote took place tonight at a special meeting, called by Chairwoman Tina Dean late Friday. Trustee Carol Sayles left the meeting in protest, saying it could have waited until the regular meeting Nov. 17 so more patrons could attend.
Trustees met for almost two hours in executive session before reconvening in an open meeting and voting to terminate Clark's contract.
Trustee Mike Vuittonet, a fifth-term board member and vocal supporter of Clark, was the only trustee to vote against the termination. He said he didn't agree with the board that Clark had violated the code of ethics.
On Oct. 23, Clark gave the board two hours' notice before announcing her resignation, saying the board had taken adverse actions against her and thwarted her ability to do her job. Clark said two trustees told her in September that they wanted her gone, which sparked weeks of negotiations between Birch and the board's attorney, William “Breck” Seiniger.
Seiniger said Birch contacted him on Friday requesting that the board take action on Clark's resignation so that Clark could start receiving her state retirement benefits.
“She offered her resignation. It wasn't accepted and instead she was terminated for breaching her contract and the ethical violations that were mentioned in the motion by Trustee Joki,” Seiniger said.
Clark did not take the board up on its offer to hold a hearing to discuss the facts about her contract and resignation, he said.