Details of the settlement between the Newton County School System and outgoing employees Dennis and LaQuanda Carpenter were released by the school system Monday afternoon, and the result is that the school system will pay the couple a total of $68,508.98.
Dennis Carpenter is the deputy superintendent of operations for the school system and recently accepted the job of superintendent for the Hickman Mills C-1 School District in Kansas City, Mo., while LaQuanda Carpenter is the principal of Alcovy High School.
In the settlement, the Board of Education agreed that the Carpenters should each receive a lump sum payment of their regular salaries through May 31, including benefits, such as health insurance, through June 30.
The total pay out amounts to $68,508.98. According to school spokeswoman Sherri Davis-Viniard, the payments are broken down as such: Dennis Carpenter’s salary from Feb. through May is $36,760.18; LaQuanda Carpenter’s salary for the same timeframe is $28,099.44; and the family plan insurance through June 30 amounts to $3,649.36.
"This agreement and the payment(s) of the lump sum salaries by the NCSS as indicated herein resolves any and all claims, disputes and/or causes of actions that may have arisen from their respective employment with the NCBOE,” according to the statement.
In a press release from the school system, Board of Education Chair Abigail Coggin said, “While the Newton County Board of Education’s intent has been to keep confidential the personnel matters that come before the body on a routine basis, in the case of the recent settlement with the Carpenters, and in light of recent open records requests, I believe, on advice of attorney, that it is in everyone’s best interest to release the terms of the settlement. Thus, today, avoiding further time, money, and energy, the settlement is being released to both the Newton Citizen and The Covington News.”
“The majority of the Board continues to believe it is in the best interest of the school system and the Carpenters to sever the current employment relationship. This way, the school system can get on with the process of finding their respective successors as well as focusing on the education and safety of our students. And the Carpenters can focus on their move to Missouri," Coggin said.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the settlement agreement with the Carpenters at the Jan. 15 BOE meeting. While it was discussed as a superintendent recommendation in executive session – like all personnel matters are - the board members all voted in open session to approve the recommendation.
Both Carpenters were under contract through June 30 - the end of the school's fiscal year - but LaQuanda Carpenter, who was on maternity leave, was officially released from her contract Jan. 31, while Dennis Carpenter was released from his contract Feb. 1.