West Ada trustees terminate contract of ex-superintendent Clark, who resigned last month

Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Linda Clark, the West Ada School District superintendent who announced her resignation last month, was fired by a 3-to-1 vote Monday.

The board, which says it never accepted her resignation, said Clark walked away from her job and engaged in using institutional privileges for promotion of political candidates or for political activities beyond local, state or national education association elections, both violations of the Code of Ethic for Professional Educators.

Clark resigned on Oct. 23, saying she was a victim of a “witch hunt.”

Clark declined comment on the board’s action Monday.

Tina Dean, board chairwoman, declined to discuss the alleged violation on promotion of political candidates.

Clark was offered a chance for a hearing but she declined, said Trustee Russell Joki.

Dean, Joki and trustee Julie Madsen voted in favor of terminating Clark’s contract. Trustee Mike Vuittonet opposed.

Trustee Carol Sayles walked out of the meeting shortly after it started, saying there was no need to discuss Clark’s contract at a special meeting that few people attended.

“The patrons are not here,” Sayles said. “It could have been done at the next meeting.”

West Ada’s next board meeting is set for Nov. 17. Regular board meetings have drawn more than 100 people recently.

The meeting was held to resolve Clark’s employment so she would be able to get retirement benefits, said Breck Seiniger, the board’s attorney.

The board also said that a provision in Clark’s contract that would allow for her to leave early was not in effect because the addendum in her contract had not been approved by the state superintendent of public instruction, which Seiniger says is required by law.

In another development Monday, a preliminary petition seeking the recall of Vuittonet was filed with the Ada County clerk Monday morning, but it was short by one qualified signature, said Phil McGrane, chief deputy Ada County clerk. Additional signatures can be added to the petition, he said.

The petition accuses the five-term trustee of violating the open meetings law when he approved “three illegal contracts with lucrative benefits for the superintendent.” It also says he “voted for increased central office administration costs and for contracting of inefficient students transportation services.” The petition says Vuittonet did not object to a 40 percent cost overrun in construction of Hillsdale Elementary School south of Interstate 84, as part of a construction bond approved by the voters last March.

Vuittonet, elected from Zone 2, denied those assertions in the petition. But he acknowledged that he has joined an effort to recall the four other trustees on the board, who were perceived as dogged opponents of Clark.

The board is in the process of dismantling one of the most successful school districts in the state, he said. “It ran off one of the most successful and well-respected superintendents we have ever had in the state of Idaho,” Vuittonet said.