Larabee resigns, settles for $100K
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 1:00 AM
The superintendent of the Philadelphia Public School District resigned on Monday after reaching a $100,000 settlement in a month-long negotiation with the city School Board, officials said.
Dr. Terry Larabee's resignation was effective Monday, School Board President Ron Sparnecht said, after spending about an hour in executive session with other members of the board and Attorney Amy Kilpatrick Taylor.
Dr. Larabee is giving up the remainder of his contract which was in effect until June 30, 2015, as well as any future causes of action, the School Board said in a prepared statement.
"Philadelphia Public School District has agreed to pay $100,000 to settle all differences between the parties," the statement said.
Larabee was paid $95,000 annually as superintendent.
The School Board began negotiating a "settlement" with Larabee last month, according to its Sept. 30 minutes made public last week.
Monday's special called meeting was the eighth since Larabee was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 4.
Four days earlier on Aug. 31, police were dispatched to the Larabee home.
No charges were filed in the incident, said Capt. Dan Refre of the Philadelphia Police Department.
According to the police report, Larabee's wife was outside when the first officer arrived, Refre said. She was advised to take a child and go to a neighbor's house.
The officer called for backup and the "whole shift" responded, Refre said.
Terry Larabee was ordered to come out of the house and told to get on the ground. He was hand-cuffed, Refre said. EMS responded and Larabee refused treatment, he said.
Refre said Larabee had been in a bathroom with a gun. Police confiscated all the weapons in the Larabee home and put them in the evidence locker at the police department for safe keeping, Refre said.
Larabee has not responded to repeated calls from the Democrat since the incident.
Sparnecht said Monday the School Board's first order of business would be to hire an interim superintendent as quickly as possible.
"Around the first of the year is usually when most superintendents are evaluated and their contracts are either renewed or not renewed," he said. "We will be advertising for a new superintendent by that time."
Sparnecht said the negotiations with Larabee had been "a distraction in the community, for our acting superintendents Lee Ann Fulton and Christie Rowcliff and for the rest of the administration, faculty and staff.
"They have done a tremendous job to ensure that the process hasn't skipped a beat in educating our children."
He thanked administrators, staff, faculty, students and the public for "being so patient in allowing this process to be a positive resolution to this issue."
The School Board said the professional relationship between the School District and Larabee had reached a point where both parties agreed that different directions should be taken at this time for the future benefit of the children of the Philadelphia Public School District.
According to the School Board's Sept. 30 minutes, members at that time directed their attorney to negotiate a settlement of all claims with Dr. Larabee and present the settlement to the board for approval.
In a special called meeting on Sept. 9, the School Board extended Larabee's administrative leave until further notice.
Rowcliff, special education director, and Fulton, curriculum director, were appointed jointly as acting superintendent at that meeting.
About 100 people packed the Philadelphia High School cafeteria during a Sept. 17 meeting, voicing complaints about Larabee.
The Board heard from a number of people behind closed doors.
For more than an hour, attendees waited for news from the board and periodically a person was called in to talk to the board.
When Leroy Clemons, president of the Neshoba County chapter of the NAACP, was asked to speak, cheering and clapping followed him into the closed meeting.
While what was said during the closed session was not made public, Clemons furnished a copy of his prepared remarks to a Democrat reporter.
"It is regrettable that instead of being here tonight to celebrate the recent improvement in our test scores and the remarkable work of our students, teachers and administrators, we are forced to address an alleged issue of ... behavior," Clemons wrote.
"We, the Neshoba NAACP, ask the school board that if the recent allegations of ... behavior be confirmed, that Philadelphia School District Superintendent of Education, Dr. Terry Larabee be held accountable to the same codes of conduct that govern our state and local school district."
Clemons said he had interviewed more than 100 people, from teachers, students, parents and community members, and that many have expressed fear, anger and lack of confidence in the city school system.
Dr. Larabee was first appointed the superintendent of the Philadelphia Public School District effective July 1, 2011, in a unanimous decision by the School Board. Eleven people applied for the superintendent's post left vacate by the June 30, 2011, resignation of Dr. Joseph White.