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By board inaction, Halloran contract extended for year

March 1 deadline passes with no notice of non-renewal, no new pact

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 8:58 a.m. CDT

Superintendent Dr. Pat Halloran’s contract to run Morris Community High School District 101 has been automatically renewed for one more year due to the lack of action by the school board.

According to Halloran’s contract — found online at morrishs.org — the Board of Education had until March 1 to notify Halloran if it did not want to renew his contract. Without notification, his contract automatically renewed for one year.

If the board was planning on not renewing his contract, it would have had to notify him with a letter, and a special meeting would have had to have been held to approve that action.

The board did not meet again on this topic after its regular meeting last month, so Halloran’s contract is automatically renewed for next school year.

Board President Dennis Best said Monday the board doesn’t have to take any action for the automatic renewal.

Halloran said Friday the timing was still not appropriate for him to comment.

The school board will not be meeting on Halloran’s contract again before the April school board election, said Best. After that, it will be up to the new school board on what to do next.

But Halloran’s contract does need to be addressed before the next school year, said Best. He said he still could not comment on what the issues or concerns are regarding the contract.

At last month’s regular meeting, there was a large turnout of teachers and staff showing support for Halloran. Vice president of the teachers’ union, Craig Ortiz, read a statement to the board on behalf of the union asking the board to retain Halloran and asking for answers to what the hold up is.

“We’re happy he was not let go and he has the one-year renewal,” said Ortiz Monday. “We certainly wish he had gotten something more stable, and we are still left wondering what is the problem? We would like an answer.”

Ortiz said the union had received no communication from the school board addressing the questions raised at last month’s regular school board meeting.

In the statement Ortiz read to the board last month, he said, “There has been no indication that (Halloran) is doing a poor job. If he has been, then this board owes it to all of us to clarify what the problem is.”

By taking too long with Halloran ‘s contract, he said then, the board is “playing a very dangerous game,” because they risk Halloran finding another job, and if he does leave voluntarily or by being forced out, the board has not left enough time to conduct a proper search for a replacement.

The school board meets next at 6:30 p.m. March 11 in the district office board room of the high school.

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