Updated: D65 to pay former Superintendent Hardy Murphy $175,000 in severance agreement


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The Evanston/Skokie District 65 board met Monday evening to discuss the departure of Superintendent Hardy Murphy. Murphy's resignation took effect Aug. 9.

Patrick Svitek, Summer Editor

Evanston/Skokie District 65 will pay former Superintendent Hardy Murphy $175,000 as part of a severance agreement, D65 board president Tracy Quattrocki announced Monday evening.

Murphy, whose resignation went into effect Aug. 9, had two years remaining on his contract, or about $600,000 in salary and benefits, Quattrocki said.

Speaking for the first time on Hardy’s separation agreement with D65, Quattrocki called the severance pay “fair and respectful” to Murphy’s 13 years at the helm of the district.

“The board has worked to be responsible fiscal stewards and believes that our agreement with Dr. Murphy achieves that goal,” Quattrocki said in a prepared statement.

(D65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy resigns)

The board is scheduled to pick an interim superintendent Friday morning. Quattrocki said its search for Hardy’s permanent replacement will begin in mid-September.

The board expects a “very smooth transition” with the first day of school a week away, Quattrocki said.

In their first public comments since Hardy surprised the D65 community with his departure, some members of the board offered their own farewells to the outgoing superintendent, praising his dedication to fiscal responsibility and minority students during a sometimes controversial tenure.

“One thing that Dr. Murphy brought … is the fundamental belief that every student, regardless of background and ability, can succeed and should have equal access, opportunity and expectations,” board member Katie Bailey said.

Board member Suni Kartha acknowledged the mixed reviews of Murphy but said the community cannot question the student growth he oversaw, among other achievements.

“If you asked 10 different people in our community, you’ll probably get 10 different opinions on what Dr. Murphy contributed to our district,” she said. “Certain facts are undeniable, though.”

Terri Shepard, a former board member who voted to hire Murphy in 1999, told her successors Monday evening that they are “going to have it tough” finding someone to fill his shoes, especially in light of his occasional clashes with the board.

Aaron Eddy, who has four kids in D65 schools, urged the board to pick someone who keeps in mind the “least resourced and least connected children and families.” Kim Weaver, another former board member, echoed Eddy’s prescription for the next superintendent, saying she hopes the board takes “into account everyone in our district.”

Weaver agreed with Shepard that replacing Murphy will not be easy, calling it a “very, very difficult job.” Shepard listed Murphy’s original qualifications, ranging from his multicultural experience to long-term commitment.

“When you bring your consultants in to meet with Evanston residents, I hope you’re as thorough as we were,” said Shepard, who served on the board from 1995 to 2000. “We met with every constituency in this city. … We gave Evanston exactly what they asked for.”

Summer editor Patrick Svitek can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/PatrickSvitek.