CBE tight-lipped on departure of superintendent
Calgary Board of Education trustees reacted angrily Monday to Postmedia revealing their chief superintendent had issued his resignation with more than 18 months left on his contract.
David Stevenson sent his resignation letter to trustees last Thursday, 10 days after the election of three new board members critical of the direction the school district had been taking.
On Monday, the board had little to say about that decision but expressed concern that word of the six-month notice given by Stevenson had emerged.
“We deeply regret the manner in which this information was made public,” read the statement from trustees. “As a board of trustees, it was our hope that Chief Stevenson would have had the opportunity to share his news with all CBE staff prior to a public release.”
It went on to note Stevenson had been with the board for 42 years, adding: “We appreciate David’s dedication to public education and his commitment to the CBE.”
Calls to trustees for an explanationof Stevenson’ s resignation went unanswered. They reportedly attended a meeting Monday to discuss the development.
A member of a parent group critical of CBE policy said he welcomed news of Stevenson’s departure.
“After 42 years, it’s time to get a new superintendent,” said Gerald Bartels, of the Calgary Association of Parents and School Councils, who emphasized he was speaking for himself. “We really need a good, new start.”
Bartels noted Stevenson, whose annual salary is $295,000, will receive a year’s pay following his departure next spring as part of his contract, calling the amount excessive.
Bartels said the resignation could be related to the election of three members of the Students Count slate to the board on Oct. 16 and the impending completion of a provincial operational review of the board’s finances.
The review was sparked by parents’ anger over changes to bus routes and transportation fees leading to higher costs for some families and longer commutes.
Althea Adams, a member of Students Count and the parents’ group, was elected as trustee earlier this month.
The slate was critical of math scores among CBE students and wanted more administrative spending directed to classrooms.
Others linked to the slate said on Monday they viewed Stevenson’s exit as a good thing, adding they had no doubt it was related to recent political developments.
In any case, the CBE owes the public an explanation for Stevenson’s decision, said Bartels. “He can’t resign on a Thursday and then come out later on this,” he said.
In his letter of resignation, Stevenson gave no reason for the move, saying: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to serve the CBE for over 42 years.”