PBC schools chief needs OK from school board to resign in June

If Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa wants to resign in June as planned, he may need special permission from the school board.

An obscure provision in Avossa’s contract requires him to give 180 days’ (about six months’) notice before resigning without school board consent. In a resignation letter last week, Avossa gave only four months’ notice.

RELATED: After Avossa, educators mull: Stay the course or hire new “disruptor”?

To leave in June without being in breach of his contract, Avossa may have to ask the board to terminate his contract “by mutual agreement,” a school district spokeswoman said.

A provision in Avossa’s contract says that it “may be terminated by mutual agreement of superintendent and board in writing upon mutually agreed upon terms and conditions.” Permission would likely have to come in the form of a public board vote.

Avossa acknowledged the provision Monday, telling The Palm Beach Post via email that “the board must agree” in order for him to resign in June.

In an interview, School Board Chairman Chuck Shaw said he was unaware of the six months notice requirement in Avossa’s contract. He referred questions about the provision to the school board’s general counsel, JulieAnn Rico, who did not respond to questions.

RELATED: Superintendent’s new boss: ‘He was going to leave anyway’

Board members are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss how to proceed in hiring a new superintendent to replace Avossa. One of the key questions facing them: whether to conduct a national search or appoint an internal candidate.

Though board members said they were shocked and saddened by Avossa’s decision to resign, there is no indication that the board would decline to terminate Avossa’s contract at his request.

Board member Karen Brill said she was unaware that he would need board members’ permission to resign in June but said she didn’t oppose doing so.

“I’m open minded about it,” she said. “I think four months is enough time.”

Avossa announced last week that he would resign in June to take a job as a vice president at LRP Publications, a Palm Beach Gardens company that publishes newsletters, books and online publications.

The company has 410 employees, and Avossa will “be responsible for the overall leadership of the education products, including overseeing editorial and conference programs,” a company spokeswoman said.

In his resignation announcement, Avossa said he took the job because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

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