For­mer school of­fi­cial gets $100K pay­out

Clark left for job in Water­bury with 18 months left on con­tract

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian Zahn

NEW HAVEN — The for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of New Haven Pub­lic Schools will re­ceive more than

$100,000 from the school board in sev­er­ance after leav­ing the dis­trict for a job in

Water­bury at the end of 2018, ac­cord­ing to a sep- ara­tion agree­ment ob­tained by the New Haven Regis­ter Fri­day.

Will Clark, who served in the COO role since 2007, left the

dis­trict with about 18 months left on his con­tract. The school board voted 5-1 in Novem­ber to ap­prove the sepa­ra­tion agree­ment after an ex­ec­u­tive ses­sion. Ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment ob­tained through a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest, Clark is owed $97,716 in reg­u­lar pay­roll checks and re­ceived a pay­ment of $5,081 for a tax shel­ter an­nu­ity pay­ment.

Clark de­clined to com­ment Fri­day.

Dar­nell Gold­son, pres­i­dent of the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and the lone vote against ap­prov­ing the sepa­ra­tion agree­ment, said he is “against golden parachutes.”

“I don’t be­lieve you should get a check for leav­ing for an­other job,” he said. “I al­ready knew through the grapevine he had an­other job; I was sur­prised to hear we were pay­ing him to leave.”

Joe Ro­driguez, one of five board mem­bers who voted to ac­cept the agree­ment along­side Jamell Cotto, Tamiko Jack­son-McArthur, Mayor Toni Harp and

Frank Re­dente — who has since re­signed from the board — said he could not elab­o­rate be­yond what has been re­leased pub­licly be­cause Clark’s de­par­ture is a per­son­nel mat­ter. Cotto and Jack­son-McArthur did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a re­quest for com­ment Fri­day.

Lau­rence Grotheer, city spokesman, said Harp voted based on rec­om­men­da­tions made by Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Carol Birks and at­tor­neys rep­re­sent­ing the school board.

Ac­cord­ing to a fi­nan­cial re­port pre­sented to the school board’s Fi­nance Com­mit­tee Mon­day, the dis­trict has a pro­jected bud­get deficit of $8.9 mil­lion for the end of the fis­cal year, ap­prox­i­mately where it has hov­ered since the school board voted to close three schools in May 2018.

Birks said after that meet­ing that the dis­trict would use the same strate­gies it has been us­ing to close the deficit, in­clud­ing lev­er­ag­ing grant funds.

Birks could not be reached by phone Fri­day and did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to an email re­quest seek­ing a com­ment.

“At­tor­ney Clark has been a long time and val­ued em­ployee of the New Haven Pub­lic Schools and we wish him well in his fu­ture en­deav­ors. He ef­fec­tively led a va­ri­ety of di­vi­sions for many years and led many projects that will serve the Dis­trict well for years to come,” Birks said in a state­ment re­leased to the pub­lic at the time Clark’s res­ig­na­tion was made pub­lic on Dec. 3. “He served as an Ex­ec­u­tive Team mem­ber and com­mu­nity leader who was counted on by past Su­per­in­ten­dents and has been a col­lab­o­ra­tor for me as I have tran­si­tioned into New Haven. I wish At­tor­ney Clark well as he chooses to move to the next chap­ter in his ca­reer and know that he will con­tinue to be a re­source and pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cate for his home City and Dis­trict.”

In a pub­lic state­ment at the time of his de­par­ture, Clark said the past 11 years had been “ex­tremely re­ward­ing.”

“It was my dis­tinct plea­sure to serve the cit­i­zens of New Haven and par­tic­u­larly the New Haven Pub­lic School stu­dents,” Clark said at the time. “I am con­fi­dent in the foun­da­tion that ex­ists within New Haven to con­tinue on a path to reach its goals and to sup­port all stu­dents on their ed­u­ca­tional jour­ney to be the best they can be. I wish the Su­per­in­ten­dent, the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and the staff well as they con­tinue to pur­sue the Dis­trict goals.”


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