BUYOUT

SD2 to buy out Beeman for $111,000

2011-10-06T17:00:00Z 2011-10-06T22:50:05Z SD2 to buy out Beeman for $111,000By ROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
October 06, 2011 5:00 pm  • 

Pending board approval Monday night, Superintendent Keith Beeman will be paid $111,000 by Billings School District 2 to leave his post eight months early.

Severance negotiations between Beeman and SD2 representatives finished earlier this week and now will go before the board for a vote during a special meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m.

"I think this is the best agreement we could get," said trustee Lindy Graves, who was part of the negotiating team. "We're looking to move on, and this is probably the best way to do it."

Beeman declined to comment.

The SD2 board voted last week to terminate Beeman's contract after his support within the district and among trustees quickly eroded over the summer.

As part of the agreement, Beeman will be paid $111,846, which includes 50 percent of his annual salary for the time left on his contract, roughly $66,000.

Beeman earned $160,000 and his contract was to expire at the end of June.

He will also be paid for all his benefits through June, about $34,000. That includes his health and life insurance coverage, his mileage stipend, his Internet stipend and home office equipment.

The district will also pay up to $2,500 for relocation.

Under the agreement, Beeman's exit from the district officially will be a resignation. If the board agrees to the terms of the agreement Monday night, Beeman's day-to-day duties with the district will then immediately end.

His resignation, however, will take effect Nov. 1 and Beeman will be required by the agreement to remain "available upon request and reasonable notice" to help with the leadership transition to the interim superintendent.

The agreement also includes a provision barring Beeman from bringing a lawsuit or challenging the district or the board for his termination.

Graves — who worked on the settlement agreement with the district's lawyer, Jeff Weldon, trustee Kathy Aragon, and a representative from the Montana School Board Association — said that agreement and the amount negotiated was vital to protect the district from potential lawsuits.

"I know there's going to be people unhappy with the dollar amount," he said.

But, he said, by agreeing to pay the settlement, the district would protect itself from lawsuits and the legal costs associated with fighting them off.

The board's vote last week to terminate Beeman's contract mandated that Beeman be gone from the district by Oct. 31, leaving no option for him to stay and finish out his contract, which would have ended June 30.

Board Chairwoman Barbara Bryan called the settlement an act of generosity on Beeman's part, noting that with his "strong negotiating position," he could have pushed for much more.

"His gracious, gentlemanly consent to the terms of the proposed agreement shows great restraint, is consistent with the professionalism he has shown during his time as our superintendent," she said.

Beeman was hired by SD2 in May 2010 from the Chino Valley Unified School District in Southern California, where he had been the associate superintendent of human resources.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

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