The new La Vernia Independent School District Board of Trustees voted 6-1 in favor Sunday night of settling with Superintendent Dr. Thomas Harvey with an agreement he would retire on Dec. 31, 2013 and be paid $86,000.
Harvey will be receiving “about half of his annual salary and leaving mid-term so the school district can move forward with this all behind us,” said one source close to the school board.
The district, in essence, has bought out the contract that had guaranteed Harvey with a minimum increase each July of at least 3% in pay. In 2010 Harvey received a 5 percent raise increase from the previous board.
The contract, worth over $160,000 in pay annually, included benefits, such as a monthly allowance of $200 of auto $200 for travel.
Former Director of Finance, Laura Ramzinski, who worked 26 years in the district, retired in September.
Harvey led the school district in the town just southeast of San Antonio, Texas, during a period of controversy and disenchantment among teachers, students and parents. Under Harvey’s tenure, many teachers and students said they had been living through a storm of distrust, alarm and indifference.
Years of failed attempts by many parents to get answers or resolution to their concerns through letters, emails, phone conversations and even in public school board meetings led to a May 11, 2013 election that expelled some of the trustees deemed the most supportive of Harvey’s tactics.
The 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 special meeting of the Board of Trustees was attended by a more than normal crowd. The only board member who voted to keep Harvey was James Barnett, who was a member of the previous board.
The district has been plagued with questionable practices and discontent regarding school fund inaccuracies, the death of an assistant principal, the arrest of a teacher, nepotism, the affair of a principal with the police officer who is assigned to support her campus, leadership intimidation of teachers, and declines in annual district test scores.
In May, the school board president, Mike Jendrusch, a steadfast supporter of Dr. Harvey, was voted out losing to mom Janette Chall by a landslide, 887 to 237.
Susan Reinhard, who beat incumbent John Bilicek 723 to 182 in Place 3, said she would encourage “input from the teachers, staff, parents and students.”
Kimi Kravitz won the Place 2 seat over incumbent Richard Shier 842 to 219.
“We have many wonderful people in La Vernia that have great ideas which need to be heard and shared,” Kravitz said.