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Buchanan To Be Paid $115K After 'Irreconcilable Differences'

Dr. Raleigh Buchanan, the former Hamilton-Wenham Regional School Superintendent, will be paid $115,000 in pay and accrued time off through February to end his tenure as superintendent.

Former School Superintendent Dr. Raleigh Buchanan will be paid $115,000 in salary and benefits through February because of “irreconcilable differences.”

The three-page agreement between Buchanan and the School Committee was signed on May 27 and released after the School Committee voted to approve it on Thursday night.

The total compensation includes $93,000 in pay, according to Committee member Kym Donnellan, plus 16 accrued unused vacation, sick and personal time plus the value of health insurance benefits.

The agreement also calls for Buchanan to be available to consult the district through the end of June, although he is not prevented from seeking another job starting June 1. He “will exercise no power as superintendent” after June 1, according to the agreement.

From June 1 through Feb. 3, Buchanan will be on a “paid leave of absence.”

According to the executive session minutes from the May 19 meeting where the settlement was reached, Buchanan requested the $115,000 figure - equal to eight months pay for Buchanan, who was earning $169,500 per year. (A complete copy of the agreement and meeting minutes are attached to this story as a PDF).

Buchanan will stay on the School District’s health insurance through Feb. 3.

The agreement also prevents either side from discussing the agreement, according to Committee member Jack O’Keefe. The agreement also extends to School District employees and former School Committee members. Former School Committee members Richard Boroff, Tess Leary and Lauren Prior took part in the negotiations to end Buchanan’s three-year contract.

According to minutes from the negotiations, Prior was the only one of nine School Committee members to vote against the settlement terms.

The six pages of minutes – what School Committee Chairman Alexa McCloughan called “very detailed minutes of a lengthy meeting” - also show that Buchanan requested the executive session after reading the evaluation of his performance from the first 10 months on the job.

Those reviews, , “destroys everything he stands for,” Buchanan told the committee during the executive session. He said he had worked very hard as superintendent and chose not to return to the meeting after the 1-1/2 hour-long executive session, when the agreement was reached.

Thomas June 12, 2011 at 04:48 PM
I was saddened to learn about Buchanan's departure. By all accounts, he seemed to be very popular with everyone except the school committee. I was also startled to see the committee take such action just prior to the election and am wondering if the results of the election are any indication of the community's frustration with the school committee.

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