The Scappoose School District board of directors has directed an attorney to begin negotiating a separation agreement with the top official in the district, Superintendent Stephen Jupe.
The school board held an executive session Monday, June 12, to consult with legal counsel regarding litigation likely to be filed and to review and evaluate the performance of the chief officer.
Following the closed session, the board voted to pursue negotiation of a separation agreement with Jupe.
No public details of the agreement, or why it is being pursued, were stated in open session. Board Chair Joe Lewis described the nature of the agreement "as discussed" in the closed session.
The decision to pursue a separation agreement with Jupe comes three weeks after the board held an executive session to review his performance as the leader of the district May 22, and nearly a week after it was discovered Jupe was on medical leave. The Spotlight was told Wednesday, June 7, by office staff that he would be on medical leave until the end of June.
When asked, Lewis said he would not confirm the duration of Jupe's medical leave or when it had been approved.
During the school board meeting Monday, the board also unanimously approved the appointment of Ron Alley as the acting superintendent in Jupe's absence. Alley is currently the director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and secondary education for the district.
During the vote, Lewis said Alley would be in the position of superintendent "until a superintendent is put in that position," but he did not clearly state when, or if, Jupe would be returning.
Lewis said he could not comment on the topic when later asked to explain the reasoning behind his statement, and said details of medical leave could not be discussed for privacy reasons.
Over the past month, the Scappoose School District has held two executive sessions to evaluate the performance of Jupe. The session Monday cited the board's intention to consult with legal counsel regarding litigation likely to be filed.
On May 22 Scappoose school board members held an executive session, after which the board took no formal action. Board member Jim Hoag was absent. The purpose of the meeting was to begin the process of evaluating Jupe's performance over the last year, a process that takes place annually in the spring. A final evaluation usually occurs in June.
While the board took no action immediately following that meeting, Lewis and Vice Chair Phil Lager later confirmed they spoke with Jupe the day after the meeting and that he was asked to consider employment options, including resignation.
Jupe is currently working under a three-year contract that will expire in May 2018. Previous evaluations of the superintendent have been largely positive, and his contract renewal in 2015 also afforded him an increase in compensation and 30 days paid vacation.