School board approves rollover, addendum to superintendent’s contract

The Kent School District Board of Directors approved a rollover and addendum to Superintendent Calvin Watts’ contract at its Aug. 22 meeting.

Watts’ contract, which automatically rolled over on July 1, renews for three years to 2021.

The board voted 3-1, with one member abstaining, to approve the contract despite public outcry.

“We’re not under any urgency to do this now,” said board member Ross Hardy, who voted against the addendum. “We can take time to look at any outstanding issues prior to making this vote.”

But Hardy’s motion to table the vote drew no support.

Watts’ extension comes at a time of scrutiny. Parents and community members have called for his resignation, blaming Watts for the district’s financial plight. In early April, Kent teachers cast a vote of no confidence in Watts.

Parents in the school district filed a complaint in May, alleging Watts’ participation in events with the Education Research and Development Institute, a Chicago-based company that pays top school officials honoraria of about $2,000 for giving feedback on education-technology products. Parents claim that action is a conflict of interest.

Watts said he did nothing wrong, telling the school board about the honorarium at a meeting in February. His current contract requires him to seek prior approval before accepting paid consultation beyond his work in the school district.

The new contract adds language on conflicts of interest and outside consulting work. It keeps Watts’ annual salary at $254,500, but the new deal stipulates the board will consider a percentage increase before July 1 of each year.

Teachers and paraeduators who jammed the board meeting Wednesday were surprised that the school board would extend the contract of someone who has unresolved, uninvestigated allegations. They were surprised, given the budget battle and the threat of a strike.

“The time to act responsibly is now,” Kristin Pinter, an elementary school teacher, told Watts and the school board during the public hearing. “By voting tonight on a budget that clearly does not use McCleary money to appropriately and fairly compensate Kent School District employees but fill a rainy day fund instead tells your constituents that you are not listening and don’t care about them.

“By voting tonight to extend Dr. Watts’ contract blatantly disregards the feelings and desires of your constituents.”

More in News

Malena Gaces, left, and other members of Washington CAN protest unfair move-out charges and alleged discriminatory behavior outside Kitts Corner Apartments in Federal Way in 2018. Sound Publishing file photo
King County could increase tenant protections

The council is considering ordinances designed to help renters.

The 2015 Wolverine Fire in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest near Lake Chelan. Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
The smoky summer that wasn’t

While Washington had a mild season, wildfires burned near the Arctic.

Renton city council split on I-976

Council chooses to take no official stance on car tabs initiative

Need more friends? Try reading this

Local author, psychologist offers advice on personal relationships

Body cameras? Renton is starting talks again

After four years the city is considering the new equipment

A rundown of Renton’s ballot

Ballots mailed out this week to voters

Mayor wants to reexamine trash services

Renton considers trash service contracts

Dane Scarimbolo and Dominique Torgerson run Four Horsemen Brewery in Kent. They were almost shut down in late 2017 by King County, which after years of letting them operate a brewery and taproom, decided they were in violation of county code. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Proposed winery ordinance irks King County farmers, neighbors and businesses

Concerns include more traffic, higher land prices, code enforcement and compliance.

Renton uses AI tech to listen in

A program called ZenCity is helping city officials respond to feedback

Most Read