West Ada School District trustees voted Tuesday to void an extension that took Superintendent Linda Clark’s employment through 2018, citing a violation of the state’s open meeting law when their predecessors approved the contract June 23.
The previous board met in an executive session where discussion of a contract was not included as a reason for the session, and later voted on a contract that was not on the agenda, said Breck Seiniger, the board’s attorney.
Voiding the contract does not mean Clark is without a job. There are still contracts that had been approved outlining her employment for this school year and the next, Seiniger said. The June vote extended the contract for a third year.
The new board’s decision Tuesday angered more than 100 people who filled the board room, prompting former district superintendent Christine Donnell to call on those attending to start a trustee recall.
“This is a travesty,” Donnell said. “It is not good for our community.”
Seiniger said trustees had no choice but to void the contract once they recognized it had been approved at a flawed meeting. The vote was not about the content of the contract, he said, even though two new trustees, Russell Joki and Julie Madsen, had objected to the previous board’s approval of the extension. They claimed it should have been left to the newly elected board that took over July 1.
Trustees voted 4 to 1 to void Clark’s extension after a two-hour executive session that did not include the superintendent. Mike Vuittonet cast the dissenting vote.
The board met for about 20 minutes in open session, then returned to executive session before adjourning.
Officials who attended the meeting in support of Clark included State Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, and Anne Little Roberts, Meridian Chamber of Commerce president and CEO.
Winder challenged the board’s decision to go into executive session.
“The public needs to know what the board is saying,” Winder told the Idaho Statesman. “They are on the ragged edge of violating the public trust.”
Tina Dean, board chairwoman, deflected calls from the audience for public comment.
Roberts objected to the manner in which the board has been treating Clark for the past several weeks. She said she and other chamber members wrote or emailed trustees in the past few weeks to ask questions and raise concerns, but never received a response.