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Board silent on reasons for departure of Stephen Jupe, who received mostly positive performance reviews

The former superintendent of the Scappoose School District will continue to receive pay and benefits through December following his sudden departure from the district in June.

The Scappoose School District will pay former Superintendent Stephen Jupe nearly $81,000 in salary and benefits for the next six months in the wake of his June 30 exit from the district, according to a resignation agreement between Jupe and the district.

JupeThe agreement, which was signed by Jupe and former Board Chair Joe Lewis on June 21, outlines a payment schedule whereby Jupe will be paid the sum of $80,963, the equivalent of six months' salary and benefits, from now until Dec. 31. Additionally, the district will also continue to pay for Jupe's health care coverage for up to one year.

If Jupe secures full-time employment elsewhere during that time period, he will no longer receive payments or benefits from the district, the documents also state.

The agreement, however, does not indicate any reason for Jupe's leaving, which occurred a year prior to when his contract with the district was set to expire.

Jupe did not submit a resignation letter at the time of his departure from the district, according to Callen Sterling, a pre-loss attorney for Oregon School Boards Association who is providing legal consultation for the district.

Callen said all communications between Jupe and the school board were conducted through legal counsel and fall within the purview of attorney-client privilege.

Records from the district reveal a series of largely positive annual performance evaluations for Jupe since the first year of his employment in 2012. In 2015, the school board also approved a three-year renewal of his contract. A memo on the renewal showed board support for Jupe's performance up to that point.

Other formal evaluations echoed sentiments of Jupe having demonstrated excellent leadership, being involved in various committees and being proactive in developing relationships with media outlets and positive community relations. Areas of improvement, notably communication and organization, however, were documented in several evaluations in 2016.

The same 2016 board evaluation noted a recommendation to provide Jupe with an "additional resource" to do his superintendent job, freeing him from day-to-day personnel management activities. The recommendation did not specifically identify the nature of the additional resource.

School board representatives have not provided any reasons for pursuing a separation agreement with Jupe — a board action which was approved in early June.

During that time, Lewis previous called Jupe a "highly productive superintendent," in an email to the Spotlight, but would not provide any reasons why the board approved pursuing separation agreements with him.

LagerCurrent Board Chair Phil Lager told the Spotlight that he would prefer questions regarding the departure of the superintendent to be emailed to him, and further stated that he would direct media questions to acting superintendent Ron Alley.

Lager and Alley did not respond to requests for comment on this story by the Spotlight's press time Thursday.

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