News

District to pay McGee about $150K severance

Palo Alto school board agrees to give McGee six months' salary, but McGee will hand over townhome

In a severance agreement with Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Max McGee, who tendered his resignation Tuesday night, the school board has agreed to provide him with six months' pay and health benefits through the end of the year.

School board President Terry Godfrey provided the terms of the separation agreement to the Weekly on Wednesday morning. The board unanimously approved the agreement in closed session on Tuesday but Godfrey did not announce the terms in open session, in spite of a Brown Act legal requirement that closed session actions be announced as soon as the meeting is reconvened in public.

The district posted the agreement online on Wednesday morning.

The district will pay McGee about $153,000, plus the cost of health insurance.  His annual compensation was $315,918, which includes a $750 per-month car allowance.

McGee will also turn back to the district the deed for a townhouse in Palo Alto he purchased with a $1.5 million interest-free loan provided by the district, Godfrey said. This means the district, not McGee, will benefit from any appreciation since he purchased the home in August 2015.

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The language in McGee's employment contract provided that the loan had to be repaid within a year of his ceasing to be superintendent, so he could have held on to the home until next September, then sold it and repaid the loan. (According to Godfrey, McGee did not use any of his own funds for the purchase.)

McGee's resignation, which the board unanimously accepted on Tuesday, is effective this Friday, Sept. 29.

The school board will be holding a special closed-session meeting tonight, Wednesday, from 9-10 p.m. to discuss the appointment of an interim superintendent.

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District to pay McGee about $150K severance

Palo Alto school board agrees to give McGee six months' salary, but McGee will hand over townhome

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Sep 27, 2017, 9:48 am

In a severance agreement with Palo Alto Unified Superintendent Max McGee, who tendered his resignation Tuesday night, the school board has agreed to provide him with six months' pay and health benefits through the end of the year.

School board President Terry Godfrey provided the terms of the separation agreement to the Weekly on Wednesday morning. The board unanimously approved the agreement in closed session on Tuesday but Godfrey did not announce the terms in open session, in spite of a Brown Act legal requirement that closed session actions be announced as soon as the meeting is reconvened in public.

The district posted the agreement online on Wednesday morning.

The district will pay McGee about $153,000, plus the cost of health insurance.  His annual compensation was $315,918, which includes a $750 per-month car allowance.

McGee will also turn back to the district the deed for a townhouse in Palo Alto he purchased with a $1.5 million interest-free loan provided by the district, Godfrey said. This means the district, not McGee, will benefit from any appreciation since he purchased the home in August 2015.

The language in McGee's employment contract provided that the loan had to be repaid within a year of his ceasing to be superintendent, so he could have held on to the home until next September, then sold it and repaid the loan. (According to Godfrey, McGee did not use any of his own funds for the purchase.)

McGee's resignation, which the board unanimously accepted on Tuesday, is effective this Friday, Sept. 29.

The school board will be holding a special closed-session meeting tonight, Wednesday, from 9-10 p.m. to discuss the appointment of an interim superintendent.

Comments

pension??
Charleston Meadows
on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:26 am
pension??, Charleston Meadows
on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:26 am

Will McGee be entitled to a pension from PAUSD? If not, this was a wise move by the board.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:38 am
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

Cynical taxpayer here....with such a brief work history in Palo Alto Unified School Disyrict, WHY does this ex-Supe get ~ $150K in severence?! Public employee/union contracts are out of control and an unfair burden on us taxpayers in the community.
I might feel differently about someone with a long tenure filled with accomplishments here.


SuperD
Community Center
on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:53 am
SuperD, Community Center
on Sep 27, 2017 at 10:53 am

Sweet deal for Max. Wow. Now we need to hire an interim person and pay them a salary. So we our expense for this position essentially doubled. Not to mention the millions of dollars that was needlessly spent for teachers' raises because they missed the deadline..What a mess...


Barron Park dad
Barron Park
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:19 am
Barron Park dad, Barron Park
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:19 am

I'm pretty certain the District will recoup far more in townhouse appreciation than the $150,000 the taxpayers gave to Max McGee in this separation package, so it is fine from a money basis. I'm actually surprised he didn't keep the home equity appreciation for himself, as he is legally entitled to.


Hugo
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:42 am
Hugo, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:42 am

$750 a month for a car??


john_alderman
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:50 am
john_alderman, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:50 am

@ Hugo - You think the union bosses would respect a Superintendent who showed up to work in a Camry?


Moving forward...
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm
Moving forward..., Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Sep 27, 2017 at 12:19 pm

I wish Dr. McGee the best. He accomplished some good things on the equity front, and I sincerely believe that his heart was in the right place. Nonetheless, his operations management weaknesses were a real problem. Now a decision has been made. Let's move forward and stop publicly lambasting a person who has resigned.

Let's support the search for a replacement. We need to encourage the board to hire a strong administrator to fill this important role at the helm of our valued public schools. Lashing out online will not be helpful toward that goal. Future candidates for the job will find their way to this thread. Let's be more constructive, please.

I hope the Board will look for operational strength in future candidates. I hope they will look for someone who has a track record of hiring and developing excellent staff--that includes training on policy requirements and tying policy adherence to job performance reviews. Openness to innovation is important, but in most districts that originates underneath the superintendent (and generally works best when it starts close to the classroom) and is encouraged by the superintendent. We need a superintendent who can capably handle the complex tasks associated with building and managing a very large staff, union issues, budget, and other resources attentively, daily--who can keep his staff on track moving toward existing goals and improvements that keep student learning and wellness at the center of all they do.

In fact, that is what any district needs. We are not so special in that regard. Let's stop kvetching and start being more constructive toward supporting efforts to identify and hire a strong (albeit imperfect, because no one is perfect) replacement.


Sarah
another community
on Sep 27, 2017 at 12:52 pm
Sarah, another community
on Sep 27, 2017 at 12:52 pm

How can we move on when the Paly principal and many others are still there, and put our children at risk?

The folks that "avoided a paper trail" are still out there and we cannot run schools with a great leader and incompetent staff? Part of the problem was that Dr. McGee had Wade and Bowers under him. We don't want to set the new supt. up for dealing with incompetence from the get go? Why are we afraid to terminate people who participated in putting our children at risk and who led to the victim's fleeing from the bullying in our district? I cannot see how anyone could suggest moving on already.

If your daughter was treated that way by PAUSD staff, you wouldn't be saying, Goodbye Dr. McGee, let's move on." We've started the job and now we need to finish it.

The convicted felon hasn't even been expelled yet! Legally, he could come back at will. We are NOT close to finished.


And so it goes
Gunn High School
on Sep 27, 2017 at 1:31 pm
And so it goes, Gunn High School
on Sep 27, 2017 at 1:31 pm

A few comments:

1. While the property has probably appreciated, it also costs a bundle to sell real estate. Commissions on just a $1.5M property would be around $75K, and that does not include other costs of selling like cleaning, staging, title company fees, transfer fees, taxes etc. According to Zillow (which, in my opinion, often estimates high), this property is worth $1.8M, but the one next door which is 20% bigger has not sold and it is listed for only $1.69M. My point is that there is not necessarily a windfall for PAUSD.

2. Real estate prices fluctuate, for for McGee to want to hang onto it for a while would have been risky.

3. Why do some people cross post the EXACT same post on multiple threads? Afraid we didn't see the first one?


Got Trust?
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 2:29 pm
Got Trust?, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 2:29 pm

"The folks that "avoided a paper trail" are still out there and we cannot run schools with a great leader and incompetent staff? Part of the problem was that Dr. McGee had Wade and Bowers under him. We don't want to set the new supt. up for dealing with incompetence from the get go? Why are we afraid to terminate people who participated in putting our children at risk and who led to the victim's fleeing from the bullying in our district? I cannot see how anyone could suggest moving on already.

If your daughter was treated that way by PAUSD staff, you wouldn't be saying, Goodbye Dr. McGee, let's move on." We've started the job and now we need to finish it.
"

@Sarah,
I wish for all the world that what you have to say is heard. You speak for us, too.


Marjan
Midtown
on Sep 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm
Marjan, Midtown
on Sep 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Given the outrageous circumstances of the last year, McGee should be exempt from any severance pay, period!

Kim Diorio should be dismissed as well!! Not to do so is irresponsible on the part of the School Board.


everyone's a winner?
Barron Park
on Sep 27, 2017 at 7:19 pm
everyone's a winner?, Barron Park
on Sep 27, 2017 at 7:19 pm

@ASIG,
Also, since this will now probably be considered a "donation", McGee will get a tax write-off for the full increase in value of the property.


Unwise payout
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:22 pm
Unwise payout, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2017 at 11:22 pm

Giving a large severance to McGee will do nothing to help the # of lawsuits that will soon end up with PAUSD as a defendant for their fiasco and "deliberate indifference" to what occurred to the female victim(s).

The case law if very clear on this issue. Web Link

PAUSD in the end up paying out millions because of the steps that they did not do to protect the victim(s).


A Noun Ea Mus
Professorville
on Sep 28, 2017 at 2:51 am
A Noun Ea Mus, Professorville
on Sep 28, 2017 at 2:51 am
And so it goes
Gunn High School
on Sep 28, 2017 at 10:03 am
And so it goes, Gunn High School
on Sep 28, 2017 at 10:03 am

To amend my earlier comments regarding the value of the McGee's townhouse, after doing a little more research it looks like he over-paid for it, and it is quite likely the district will take a loss of this thing if they sell it now. But maybe they prefer to keep it and give it to the next superintendent...


This is Crazy!!
Green Acres
on Sep 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm
This is Crazy!!, Green Acres
on Sep 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm

A golden parachute indeed.

It's time to move on.....and focus on finding a super who will certainly administer with a velvet hammer.

On a separate topic, the board's work here is not done.
We have principals and asst. principals that need to be addressed.
These incompetent school administrators must be held accountable for their epic failure of protecting this young woman.
These people cannot hide behind ignorance to the rules and regulations and we certainly cannot allow them to have colluded around not following proper documentation procedures.
When a school administrator violates the rules, and hides under the umbrella of ignorance to the rules, they must be fired.

So, this is my opinion....what's the Board's opinion?
Has anyone heard about what their opinion on these administrators are??

hmmmmm...when are Board re-elections?




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