Community Blog: The EDge

Settlement with Blaine superintendent comes to $600,000

The Blaine County School District will pay former Superintendent Lonnie Barber a $600,000 settlement.

Lonnie Barber
Lonnie Barber

The district announced the settlement Thursday, less than two weeks after Barber and school trustees agreed to part ways.

“Since Dr. Barber’s employment contract was entered into in good faith, it was important to honor the contract,” Chairman Paul Bates said in a news release.

“We recognize that this is a substantial sum of taxpayer money, but felt that the leadership considerations outweighed the financial consideration,” Trustee Kathryn Graves said.

Here’s more about the settlement announcement, from The Times-News in Twin Falls.

When Barber left the district, he had nearly three years remaining on a contract with a total value of $680,000.

Barber and trustees have said little about his departure. Trustees have described the decision as mutual, and rooted in what Trustee Kathy Baker called “a change of philosophy.”

Here is the district’s news release:

Recently, the Blaine County School District Board of Trustees reached a mutual separation agreement with former Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Barber. The separation was due to differences in leadership style and approach. Both parties also acknowledged the changing dynamics of the relationship and recognized that a positive culture is vital to student success.

Chairman Paul Bates stated, “Since Dr. Barber’s employment contract was entered into in good faith, it was important to honor the contract.” 

After looking at the overall value of the contract, a negotiated settlement of $600,000 was agreed upon. Trustee Kathryn Graves stated, “We recognize that this is a substantial sum of taxpayer money, but felt that the leadership considerations outweighed the financial consideration.”

Vice Chair Shawn Bennion stated, “We will continue to strive to be one of the best school districts in the country.  We look forward to working together with the staff and the community to make this goal a reality. The children of this community are our highest priority.”

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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