Thursday, December 17, 2015

KCS Superintendent's contract not enforceable, law director says

Jim McIntyre
Knox County Schools Superintendent Jim McIntyre’s recently approved contract is not enforceable because it was an “extension” of an existing four-year contract – something not permissible under state law, according to the county’s top attorney.

Citing a Dec. 10 letter from the Office of the Attorney General, Knox County Law Director Richard “Bud” Armstrong said the school board cannot “extend” a contract for a school system’s superintendent beyond four years until it concludes.

In addition, Armstrong said, the school board cannot even “renew” McIntyre’s contract until it expires, which isn’t until Dec. 2017.

“Everything has to remain stable until it’s time to renew,” he told WBIR 10News.
Bud Armstrong

Armstrong’s opinion comes in the wake of the Knox County Board of Education agreeing on Nov. 30 to extend the McIntyre’s contract another two years from 2017 to December 2019. The extension also included a 2 percent raise, bumping his salary to $227,256.

The contract was sent to the Knox County Commission where officials are supposed to talk about it next Monday. Before it hit the commission desk, however, Armstrong wrote the word "not" before the phrase "legal as to form and correctness” on the signature page of the contract.

Rest of story RIGHT HERE.


Unknown said...

Mike, having left a comment here hours ago, I wanted to return to your blog to explain that I *finally* grasp why Armstrong is saying the BOE couldn't extend this contract--and I agree with him wholeheartedly.

Previously, I'd found online, but couldn't open, this AG's 2001 Opinion No. 91-102. I was having some technical difficulty with my Adobe software.

Only *after* I'd posted to your blog, though, I eventually managed to open and read that Opinion. While that Heatherly court ruling addressed only why a BOE can't *automatically extend* a super's contract, this 2001 Opinion addresses the much broader question of why a BOE really can't extend a super's contract for any reason.

And the explanation the Opinion offers is that if the Education Improvement Act had allowed a BOE to extend a contract midterm, as our BOE has been doing, that would have effectively robbed newly-elected BOE members of their control over the super, instead allowing just some BOE elected far into the future to actually voice any dissatisfaction of the electorate.

I find the Heatherly ruling I had asked you about before to just confuse the issue, but, now that I've been able to read it, this 2001 AG Opinion says clearly that what our BOE has been doing with contract extensions is illegal and the Opinion is equally clear as to why.

We, the electorate, need to begin distributing that Opinion widely, certainly to all of our BOE members and commissioners--and you folks in the media can be a big help in this, too!

Unknown said...

Oops...I'm spotting a typo in my comment above. The pivotal AG Opinion in this contract extension question is #01-102, not #91-102. That correction is important to anyone wanting to look the Opinion up online.