The Kent School Board voted to extend the contract of embattled superintendent Calvin Watts.
Despite public outcry, the Kent School Board approved a modified contract that extends Superintendent Calvin Watts’ leadership of the 30,000-student school district until June 2021.
In the months leading up to the vote on Wednesday, parents and community members called for Watts’ resignation.
The amended contract gives Watts one more year on the job, and contains additional rules that outline how and when the superintendent should accept money for consulting services, as well as some guidelines for disclosing conflicts of interest. His previous contract guaranteed his employment until June 2020.
The vote came amid allegations that Watts is to blame for the district’s financial crisis, and that he failed to properly disclose $2,250 he received from the Education Research and Development Institute in exchange for his feedback on education technology products. Though he told the school board about the honorarium at a meeting in February, his current contract requires him to seek prior approval before accepting paid work outside the district.
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Those who urged the board to vote against the contract during public comment received loud applause from the crowd. A few questioned why a contract extension would be on the table before the public could see the result of an investigation into Watts.
“We’re not under any urgency to do this now,”said Board member Ross Hardy, who voted against the addendum. “We can take time to look at any outstanding issues prior to making this vote.” He proposed tabling the vote until a later time, but no one seconded his motion.
The final vote was 3-1, with one member abstaining. In other news at the meeting: After extensive (and at-times tearful) public comment, the board rejected a proposed 2018-2019 operating budget.
10:45 p.m.: This story was updated to include details from Wednesday night’s meeting.