Howell leaves district
Steamboat Springs Superintendent Donna Howell discusses her four-year career with the school district.
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Steamboat Springs Donna Howell's tenure as the superintendent of the Steamboat Springs School District ended Friday afternoon as she and the School Board reached agreement on a contract buyout.
In exchange for her resignation, the district will pay Howell $270,000, slightly less than the $300,000 she would have earned in salary and benefits from serving out the remaining two years on her contract. Howell's resignation is effective immediately.
Board President Denise Connelly said the buyout was necessary because of differences that had developed between the board and superintendent over the past year. Connelly said those differences had distracted the board from other business.
Finance Director Dale Mellor will be responsible for the superintendent functions. She said the board would begin the process of finding an interim superintendent next week. The board is scheduled to meet Monday.
The School Board met in executive or secret session three times Friday to consider Howell's employment. The first meeting began at 8 a.m. After an hour of talking behind closed doors, the board emerged and took public comment. More than 50 people gathered at Centennial Hall for the morning meeting to watch the proceedings, and more than a dozen of them spoke in favor of retaining Howell during the public comment period. No one spoke in favor of dismissing Howell.
The board then went back into secret session before coming out at 10:30 a.m. The board announced that the meeting would be reconvened at 3 p.m. In the afternoon, the board again went into secret session before coming out again just before 4 p.m. The board voted 4-0 to accept Howell's resignation. Board Member Char Rusk abstained, saying she has not been on the board long enough to make the decision.
Howell was hired in the fall of 2003. None of the current board members were on the board when she was hired. Board member Jeff Troeger was on the board when she was given a 4-year contract in April 2005, but Troeger opposed that contract extension.