CBE tight-lipped on de­par­ture of su­per­in­ten­dent

Calgary Herald - - CITY - BILL KAUF­MANN BKauf­mann@post­media.com

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.”

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