The Nampa School Board will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the departure of Gary Larsen, who had served as the districts superintendent since 1994. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. The matter will be discussed in non-public executive session, a board member told the Statesman.
District spokeswoman Allison Westfall did not respond to questions about what prompted Larsens resignation, and Chairman Scott Kido did not return a call seeking comment.
Larsen delivered his resignation letter to Kido last week, said Dale Wheeler, vice chairman.
Larsen resigned because he didnt want to be a distraction as the district deals with a $2.8 million shortfall due to budget errors, Wheeler said.
To me, it was a selfless sacrifice of his position, said Wheeler, who has known Larsen 12 years. He did it for the good of the district ... so we can move forward without people pointing fingers.
A week before the start of the 2012-13 school year, the superintendent notified the School Board that the district staff had made a series of financial errors over the past two years.
Were dealing with cuts that we should have made before, Deputy Superintendent Joshua Jensen told the board in August. As far as I know, the cause was just plain old human error.
Wheeler said Larsens resignation was a surprise and devastating to the district.
He was forward-thinking, had good ideas and good rapport with the staff, Wheeler said. Hes very personable and cares deeply about everyone.
The finance officer who made the errors resigned in January. A new accountant has been hired and has reviewed the books, Wheeler said, but a district audit by an outside accounting firm may be in order to help the next superintendent begin with a clean slate.
At the August meeting, Larsen told the board: I kind of thought maybe my credibility with you would be shot.
After the shortfall was announced, Larsen said 39 open positions would go unfilled, substitute teaching and supply budgets would be cut and transportation costs pared.
The budget mistakes included counting the same state revenue stream in two different budget years; budgeting twice as much money from one source as was actually received; and miscalculating salary revenue.
The shortfall represented about 4.2 percent of the districts $66.8 million budget for 2012-13.
In 2009, Larsen was one of six finalists for superintendent of the Washoe County School District in Reno, a significantly larger district. At the time, Washoe had 63,000 students; Nampa had about 14,800.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413