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School releases terms of Superintendent’s resignation

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs Public Schools will continue to pay former Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn her base salary for the next two years, according to the details of her resignation agreement.

The resignation occurred March 26 after a series of events in which almost 2,000 people signed an online petition urging her to resign; over 500 people attended a community meeting to listen to staff and others talk about their experiences under her leadership; a no confidence vote was taken by the teacher’s union, the CSEA; and recall petitions were filed against three board members. Many accused her of creating a toxic and hostile work environment with no collaboration between teachers, district office, and the board.

Then, on March 26, hundreds of people wearing red shirts that said “#Resign VanDuyn” attended the board meeting to demand her resignation. Instead, VanDuyn was not in attendance, and the board of education went into closed session to discuss her resignation and then came back into open session and voted to approve it with her last official day in the office Friday, March 30.

According to the agreement, VanDuyn is taking a “paid leave of absence” through June 30, but will still be available as a consultant upon request of the board president or designee, to assist the board and interim Superintendent on transition matters. She will continue to receive the balance of her base salary for 2017-18, which is $155,852 (less taxes and withholding); the 2017-19 annuity (which is 9 percent of her 2018-19 base salary into a 403b account; existing insurance benefits (as long as she pays the premium); and all accrued paid personal, sick and vacation days. She will not accrue any additional days or mileage expenses, however.

Unless she obtains employment, she will also be paid her base salary during 2018-19, which is $158, 969. Unless she obtains insurance through an alternate source, the board shall also continue to pay its share of her existing insurance benefits through June 30, 2019, as long as she pays her part through payroll deduction. If at any time during the 2018-19 year she obtains employment at the same or greater base salary, the board’s obligation to make payments ceases. The board will make MSPERS payments (retirement) contributions on the salary paid for 2018-19.

The board will continue to pay her 2018-19 base salary for the 2019-20 work year (starting July 1, 2019). But it will be non-reportable compensation for the MPSERS (retirement system) and shall be reduced by Superintendent’s actual W-2 or 1099 earnings. She will report her earnings to the board president at the end of each month in writing, starting July 31, 2019. If she doesn’t, the board isn’t obligated to pay her. She must also submit her W-2s and 1099s to the board president by February 10 of each year.

They will continue to pay health benefits in 2019-20 as long as she pays her share through June 30, 2020, or until she obtains employment providing benefits; has access through her husband’s employer; or receives cash in lieu of benefits from another employer.

In the event of her death, the payments would go to her beneficiary.

She must maintain in confidence any info about the board, its members, employees, students, or affairs, which is confidential under applicable law or board policy. She has also been given until June 30 to deliver to the board president all board property in her possession, including equipment, files, documents, records and anything else.

Board president Heidi Reed has also given her a positive letter of recommendation to be used in her future job search. In it she lists many of the positive things she felt Superintendent VanDuyn accomplished. She described her this way: “When Laura came to our district 4 years ago it was excitement for all that she could bring. We were a district in need of updating. She did not disappoint,” wrote Reed.

“The guiding light for Laura is putting the students needs first. She can see and understand the complexity of operating pre-kindergarten through High School. She knows what it takes for students to flourish and how to implement programs that support a positive atmosphere. Dr. Laura VanDuyn models how to look at education with a vision to the future.” She also said she was a leader of courage and insight.

Interim Superintendent Mark Dobias will start on Monday, April 9.

VanDuyn Resignation Agreement


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3 Responses to “School releases terms of Superintendent’s resignation”

  1. James T says:

    YeeHaw for her. RedHaks are starting to understand how a business is run… The mob got what they wanted. Who are they going to try to hang next? Just wait…they likely ain’t seen nothing yet.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe you didn’t post my comment. Just goes to show this is biased news.

  3. cspoststaff says:

    What comment? This is the only one we saw.


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