Legal costs can mount if a school board tries to terminate a contract with a superintendent, and this can be motivation for a settlement, said Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of the Connection Association of School Superintendents.
Cirasuolo said he is familiar with the situation in Groton, and said it’s relatively infrequent that a superintendent is placed on leave and investigated. Cirasuolo said it hasn’t happened in the four years has served as executive director.
"If you get into a full-blown set of hearings and then a court case afterward, the legal fees tend to mount up, but that's why peole have contracts," he said.
“. . .Frequently a settlement will end the matter more quickly, with less antagonism and less expensively.”
The Groton Board of Education , pending an investigation of his "interactions with and treatment of district employees." The investigation is winding down, and a final report is expected as early as today or early next week.
Ask Kadri to resign and if he accepts, end the investigation before it's completed; or let the investigation conclude, become public, and then make a decision.
Cirasuolo said a superintendent's contract typically outlines a process for possible termination.
According to Paul Kadri’s contract, the school board may terminate his contract for one of these reasons: “Inefficiency or incompetence” with the incompetence based on his evaluation; conviction of a felony; insubordination against reasonable rules of the board; moral misconduct; a disability that prevents him from performing essential duties; or “other due and sufficient cause.”
The Board of Education and at that time approved a one-year extension of his contract until June 30, 2014.
The contract pays Kadri a base salary of $167,475.
If the board wants to terminate the contract, it must notify Kadri in writing with a statement outlining the reasons. Kadri may then request a hearing within 20 days.
The board would then have to convene a hearing within 30 days to decide whether the contract should be terminated and submit written findings, sending a copy to the superintendent.
The findings would have to be issued within 20 days of the hearing. Both parties would have the right to legal counsel.
'Like a Divorce'
Kathleen Eldergill, a lawyer with Beck & Eldergill, PC, of Manchester, who represents public employees in disputes and has represented two Connecticut superintendents, said she does not know about circumstances in Groton and could not comment on them specifically.
But she said in general, parties will sometimes agree to end a dispute without determining who's right or wrong.
“The town and the board of education and the superintendent might say, regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s in everyone’s best interest to resolve it without moving forward in resolving the factual issue,” she said.
In that respect, she said, “It’s like a divorce. There comes a time when the marriage isn’t working out and it is best to split up and go our separate ways.”
Cirasuolo said school districts can work through anger and rancor, but they have to resolve the situation before they can heal.
“You hope that everybody in the school system is professional enough that something like this does not affect the children. It should not. It doesn’t have to. If people just continue to do their jobs the kids will be fine,” he said.
“However, if the school system is going to make progress, at some point there has to be a healing process. The first thing you have to do is resolve the situation.”