Blackfoot School District officials release documents about pact with former superintendent

Former Blackfoot School District superintendent Scott Crane received nearly a quarter million dollars in the employment separation agreement signed between Crane and the school district.
The separation agreement was released on Monday.
Crane's separation agreement was signed April 20, 2012, four days before the trustees "approved the agreement as executed by Employee B-2012 and the Chairman of the Blackfoot School District Board of Trustees on behalf of the board," as stated in the board minutes of the April 24 meeting.
In the oral hearing conducted last Friday, it was revealed Blackfoot employee B-2012 is Crane.
Under separation payment, "the District agrees to pay Superintendent the settlement amount of $210,856, in two equal payments of $105,428, which shall respectively be due on July 2, 2012 and July 1, 2013.
"The District further agrees to pay Superintendent a longevity benefit of $9,000, also due and payable in full on July 2, 2012.
It was explained that, under normal circumstances, Blackfoot School District certified personnel must declare his/her retirement three years before retiring. The first year, the teacher would receive $2,000; the second year $3,000 and the third year $4,000.
If the teacher was unable to complete the three years before retirement, he/she would not receive the full amount.
The District also agreed to pay Crane any accrued, but unused vacation leave, existing as of June 30. This amount was paid on July 1, 2012.
Under the "Cessation of Employment," the Superintendent was considered to be on paid leave of absence for the month of June 2012.
The employment separation agreement also stated, "In the event any action is brought … to enforce the public's right to inspect and copy this Agreement, the District shall respond to and defend such action on the basis that this Agreement is part of Superintendent's personnel file, and is therefore exempt from disclosure pursuant to the provisions of Idaho Code § 9-340©.
The suit to force the school district to reveal this hidden contract was brought by former Blackfoot School District teacher Joyce Bingham.
Responding to the release of this document, Bingham said, "As a patron, I'm bothered that the district would pay out Dr. Crane and hide it from us.
"It is unfortunate it took this length of time and all this publicity to get access to a public record," she said. "This agreement makes me sad for education and mad that it was done."
In a noon meeting Monday, Blackfoot School District trustees acknowledged the Open Meeting violations.
Board Chairman Scott Reese said the [board members] were not aware they had not followed open meetings laws until The Post Register had sent the district a registered letter on Nov. 26.
Reese is a former mayor for the City of Blackfoot.
Jared Harris, Bingham's attorney, remarked, "The [trustees] unanimously agreed to to hide the agreement, it's hard to believe they did not understand the open meeting laws."
"Who's idea was this separation agreement?" Harris asked. "Who drafted it?"
"Did the board hire an attorney to draft the agreement and when did they do it?" he asked.
The Blackfoot School District was responding to the court order that required it to release the information between the school district and Crane. The order was issued by District Judge David Nye last Friday.

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