Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa’s last day in office is today, but he may get paid to stick around for a few days to assure a smooth transition.
School board members have tentatively agreed to let Avossa work for an extra week as a paid consultant and adviser to incoming Superintendent Donald Fennoy, earning the same daily pay rate he made as the district’s chief executive.
The consulting deal is part of an exit agreement for Avossa, one that would permit him to leave the top job three months earlier than planned. Under the proposal, which board members will consider today, his resignation would be effective immediately and Fennoy would be sworn in as the new superintendent.
That’s a big shift from when Avossa announced last month that he was leaving the school district for a job at a publishing company. At the time, he said he would remain in office until June.
But with Fennoy selected to replace Avossa in the top job, Avossa and board members have agreed to a quicker exit.
The amount of “consulting and transition services” that Avossa could provide after resigning is limited to five days of work, and it could be less if Fennoy decides he doesn’t need to avail himself of the full five days. It appears that a five-day payout to Avossa would amount to about $6,500.
The consulting gig was initially proposed by School Board Chairman Chuck Shaw, who asked other board members last week to “designate a number of days that, at the pleasure of the new superintendent, Dr. Avossa would be made available for conferences and discussions, and his pay would be simply what his daily rate was.”
Board members quickly agreed to the arrangement and said they would defer to Fennoy to say how long he would like to retain Avossa as a consultant.
“I suggest we ask Dr. Fennoy how many days he would like to have Dr Avossa here to help him, and we leave it up to the two of them to tell us what they’d like,” board member Frank Barbieri said.
Fennoy spent years as an educator but, as the district’s chief operating officer, has no direct experience overseeing the county’s schools or academic initiatives, raising the possibility that he may want to tap Avossa’s knowledge of the district’s efforts to improve student achievement in the 180 public schools.
When he was first hired in 2015, Avossa negotiated a 2 ½-week, $1,483-a-day consulting contract to study the school district before officially taking office, although officials say the consulting gig never happened.