As part of settlement agreements, two former senior school officials will receive more than $150,000 combined to depart from Baltimore County Public Schools.
According to the settlement agreements—attached to this post—former Assistant Superintendent of the Department of Human Resources Don Peccia will receive a lump sum of $79,714.50 and former Chief Communications Officer Phyllis Reese will be paid $71,274.50 for their retirement and resignation respectively. The severance payouts amount to six months salary for both former officials.
Additionally, the two will continue to receive health insurance and other benefits until June 30, 2013, and Peccia will remain a member of Baltimore County Employees' Retirement System, the agreements read.
The Board of Education voted to approve the agreements at a
The settlements are the culmination of a dispute between the former officials and the current school system administration regarding the , which was signed by former Superintendent Joe Hairston but not approved by the school board. The board must approve contracts valued at more than $25,000; but the contracts of Peccia and Reese did not list their salary figures of $158,652 and $142,549 respectively, which were paid using public funds.
"[Peccia and Reese] asserted [the contracts] were valid, [the school system] asserted they were not," said Board of Education President Larry Schmidt, when reached by phone Monday afternoon.
Schmidt said he was satisfied with the terms of both agreements.
"I wouldn't have voted for it if I wasn't," Schmidt said.
Under their settlements, Peccia and Reese must keep the negotiations leading up to their respective agreement "strictly confidential."
Schmidt said though the agreements have confidentiality clauses, the school system still has to abide by "Maryland law." The law states that government spending must be disclosed.
School spokesman Charles Herndon provided the following statement regarding the departures:
"The Superintendent reassigned Dr. Peccia and Ms. Reese pursuant to his statutory right to select individuals of his choice to serve in his cabinet. Their reassignment and ultimate separation from the school system were not the result of any performance-related considerations and are in no way a reflection on their capabilities or prior record of service. BCPS appreciates the many years of service Dr. Peccia and Ms. Reese have provided."
Both agreements also read that the superintendent and school board, and both former officials have agreed not to "disparage the other party."
Last month, Superintendent S. Dallas Dance Peccia to work as a social studies teacher at Woodlawn High School and Reese to serve as a copy and print specialist. Had they , the two would have continued to receive their six-figure salaries until their contracts expired.