Dr. Thomas Stapleford accepted 30 days' severance as a condition of his resignation after his short-lived role as Peru Central's superintendent.

"... less pre-payment for days paid but not worked ($10,038.47), subject to withholding," reads a letter to Stapleford from the district dated Sept. 16 and headed "Employee Separation and General Release."

The Press-Republican obtained the document, along with Stapleford's letter of resignation, from the district on Friday after submission of a Freedom of Information Act request.

The letter, dated Sept. 13, simply says: "I hereby resign my position as superintendent of the Peru Central School District effective September 13, 2011."

The General Release letter does not explain why he abruptly was given an open-ended, temporary leave of absence the first week of September or why he then left district employ; the School Board has stuck with the position that it could not share that information, as it was considered a personnel issue.


Stapleford, 48, was chosen as superintendent last spring as the district anticipated the retirement of longtime school head A. Paul Scott. The new superintendent was appointed to a three-year contract, starting at $145,000 annually.

Immediately upon his leave of absence, the district named Business Manager Randolph Sapp acting superintendent.

Within days, the board voted unanimously to enter into a settlement agreement with Stapleford, then named Scott interim super.

The board approved a per-diem rate of $550 a day for his service; Scott said that figure could drop considerably if he were to remain at the helm for more than a short period of time.

There's a cap on how much he can earn during the first 12 months of retirement, he said, and he had no intention of leaving the district in the lurch if he were needed beyond that point.

At Tuesday's meeting, the School Board accepted three resignations, one of which was revealed as Stapleford's via the documents acquired through Freedom of Information channels.

The board also authorized Board President Rod Driscoll to sign a contract for A. Paul Scott to serve as interim superintendent through Dec. 31.


Stapleford had 21 days from receipt of the General Release letter — until Oct. 7 — to consider its terms of separation. He signed it on Sept. 27.

"The District has agreed to pay you money and other benefits to which you were not otherwise entitled under the District's policies and has provided such other good and valuable consideration as specified herein," the letter reads in part.

"The District has agreed to provide this money and other benefits because of your agreement to accept it in full settlement of all possible claims you might have or ever had and because of your execution of this Agreement."


The agreement says the district was required to pay "all accrued but unused vacation hours on your next regular payday. However, you will be charged vacation days for September 14 through 16, 2011."

Stapleford is eligible for health-insurance benefits, one point in the agreement says, if he makes contributions equal to the amount set for district employees. That perk is set to expire once he becomes employed elsewhere and qualifies for benefits there or March 1, 2012, whichever comes first.

Though setting a timetable for recruiting a new superintendent was on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting, the School Board tabled it until the session set for Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Email Suzanne Moore at: smoore@pressrepublican.com

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