Educators question IPS superintendent’s departure, $800,000 payout

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INDIANAPOLIS – Area educators and parents have questions after Dr. Eugene White announced his retirement.

The school board president said they are still finalizing the details, but White will likely receive as much money by retiring as he would have if he remained IPS superintendent.

White will likely get a nearly $800,000 retirement deal. It was an announcement that has educators asking serious questions.

“I don’t know where the money came from. I’m not privy to that. It would be nice to know,” said Ann Wilkins, president of the Indianapolis Education Association

White announced his retirement on Tuesday.

“This is probably a good settlement, and it’s not about hassling. We will satisfy the agreement of the contract and we will go forward,” he said.

The district will pay White and his replacement, at least, over a two-year period to cover the length of his contract.

Fox59 viewers sounded off about the decision on Facebook. One viewer wrote, “Really? No wonder our system’s so broke! No man is worth that!”

Another viewer wrote, “We need to fire the people that approve these golden parachute contracts.”

“There have been budget cuts, there have been riffs, and just a lot of turmoil,” said Wilkins.

IPS has suffered through two rounds of layoffs and budgeting issues. Last May, dozens of teachers and staff members lost their jobs in a $27 million budget cut. A year earlier, IPS cut $21 million, forcing several hundred people out of work.

“I believe that he was very gracious and understanding that new boards have new visions, and he wanted to honor us as much as we wanted to honor his request to retire,” said Diane Arnold, president of the IPS School Board.

White joined IPS in July of 2005, and while he has faced growing criticism about the loss of a few schools to a state takeover, the progress at IPS and some of his alternative ideas, Wilkins believes he made a positive impact on kids.

“He tends to be progressive, and that makes people uncomfortable,” Wilkins said.

The district listed his accomplishments on its website. Among them is a full-day kindergarten program, a decrease in the dropout rate and an increase in the graduation rate.

“‘What’s next?’ That’s my question. What’s next, and as long as it’s good for the kids in the district, I don’t have a problem with it,” Wilkins said.

The school board is now looking for White’s temporary replacement. No timeline was given on a permanent replacement.

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