Departing Superintendent Does Not Intend to Give Back Severance Money
Matthew Wendt told The Des Moines Register Wednesday the money was negotiated in good faith, and the board was aware he was looking for other employment.
Despite calls for him to give the money back, Ankeny Schools Superintendent Matthew Wendt said he plans to keep the $176,000 severance package when he leaves the district at the end of this month.
In a copyright story by the Des Moines Register, Wendt told reporter Sara Sleyster the money is part of a resignation package that was negotiated in good faith with board president George Tracy and district attorney Jeff Krausman.
However, Tracy and one other school board member have told local media outlets they believe Wendt should give back the transition allowance.
On Friday last week, board member Dustin Graber told the Des Moines Register he believes Wendt should give back the money to the taxpayers of Ankeny because it could be used to pay the salaries of at least two teachers.
Board president George Tracy also went on the record with KCCI Channel 8 last week. Tracy told the television station he and the other board members were under the assumption Wendt did not have another job lined up when they offered him the transition allowance.
"At that time, we did not know he had another job or was even interviewing for another position. We would have made the stipulation that if he had another position, we would not have paid him the transition severance we paid him," Tracy told KCCI.
At a special meeting last week, the school board voted 5-2 to accept Wendt's resignation, effective June 30. Prior to the vote, the board offered Wendt a three-year contract including a 3.25 percent salary should he stay with the district.
In a 4-3 vote also made during the special meeting, the board amended Wendt's current contract. A $176,000 transition allowance, equal to one year's pay without benefits, replaced a four-year payout with two years of benefits if Wendt elected to resign within a month.
Wendt chose to resign and take the transition allowance.
One day later, Wendt accepted a superintendent position with Oswego School District in Oswego, Ill. The District 308 school board offered him a three-year contract with a $225,000 annual salary.
Wendt also issued a statement to KCCI earlier this week, in which he said the board was aware he was exploring other opportunities at the time of his resignation.