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District 186 Breaks Silence on Confidential Agreement
The only school board member who did not sign a confidential agreement concerning the future of the District 186 superintendent is speaking out.
Judith Johnson said the search for an interim superintendent will officially begin March 11, when all of this information is officially made public.
Published reports indicate Dr. Walter Milton Jr. is to receive a nearly $178,000 settlement plus benefits. Milton will also be leaving before the end of the school year.
“This experience that I've had at Springfield Public Schools has been the most rewarding," Milton said, dodging the question of when he is leaving his post. "I think that we've accomplished a great deal over the last six years."
“In terms of my future I'm just really open and I'm optimistic and I'm looking for some possible good experiences," he said.
One of those possible experiences is in Little Rock, Ark., where Milton is a finalist as superintendent.
“I would have loved to have stayed," Milton said. "I would have loved to have stayed. But the reality of the situation, it doesn't constitute that right now."
Milton is not saying much because of the confidential separation agreement signed by himself and every member of the school board-- except Johnson.
“I didn't sign it because I didn't think it was fair and I just don't agree with the process by which it happened,” Johnson said.
Johnson said most board members are constantly at odds with Milton's ideas. The vote to close Capital College Preparatory Academy is only a recent example.
“I think the objective was to actually rid the district of Dr. Milton,” Johnson said.
School Board President Susan White would not speak to that accusation, saying the reasons behind the confidential agreement cannot yet be discussed.
“It’s not appropriate to me to comment on that,” White said.
Meanwhile, Milton is also tight-lipped about the differences he has had with specific board members, saying his decision to leave was a long time coming.
“It has nothing to do sometimes with the work or the quality of work or those people who have supported you or not supported you," Milton said. "It's just a time that we're in."
Even though an active search has not yet begun for an interim superintendent, Johnson said candidates both inside and outside the district will be considered.
Milton currently makes $220,000 a year plus benefits.
Milton said interviews for the superintendent position in Little Rock will begin the week of February 25.