Summit school board split on extending superintendent contract

The board voted 3-3 Thursday with the seventh seat vacant

Summit School District Superintendent Marion Smith Jr. stands outside the school district administration building in Frisco on July 22. It is unknown at this time whether his contract will be renewed.
Photo by Libby Stanford / Summit Daily archives

The Summit School District Board of Education was split Thursday on whether to negotiate an additional employment contract with Superintendent Marion Smith Jr. for a second year of service leading local public schools.

Following an executive session at Thursday’s special superintendent evaluation meeting, three board members — Consuelo Redhorse, Isabel Rodriguez and Gloria Quintero — voted to enter into negotiations with Smith for a contract to serve as the district’s superintendent for the 2021-22 school year. Three board members voted against, including President Kate Hudnut, Chris Alleman and Tracey Carisch.

Prior to the vote, no members of the public sought to comment and there was no discussion by the board. The board is permitted by state law to enter into an executive, or secret, session to discuss personnel matters.

Smith was hired by the school board as superintendent in May, succeeding Kerry Buhler, who resigned in early 2020. His one-year contract began July 1.

Following the split vote, Hudnut said the board would reconvene at a future meeting “to discuss next steps.” The board is scheduled to have a special meeting and executive session April 26 “regarding negotiations.” The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is May 13.

The seven-member school board currently comprises six people after the resignation last month of former school board secretary Virginia “Gini” Bradley.

On Tuesday, Bradley said she resigned for “personal reasons and some family and life situations that just changed my ability to serve.” In her March 12 resignation letter, Bradley said she was resigning “due to COVID, family events, and assessment of my skill set, my priorities have shifted, and I can no longer offer 100% to the job of school board member.”

Hudnut on Tuesday said the board will appoint a person to fill Bradley’s vacancy at its May 27 meeting following interviews with three candidates and a subsequent vote at the May 13 meeting. Both meetings are open to the public. The newly appointed interim board member will serve until the seat goes to public vote in the November election.

Hudnut said Tuesday that the board will share “in the very near future” more details on the remaining timeline and process for determining the superintendent’s future with Summit School District.

Hudnut declined comment on why she voted against the board entering into negotiations with Smith. Hudnut said the superintendent serving the district for the 2021-22 school year would begin the role July 1.

A phone message left with Smith was not returned as of Tuesday evening.

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