Outgoing Evergreen superintendent to receive year’s pay

John Steach also agrees to never work for the school district again

VANCOUVER — The decision to part ways with John Steach as superintendent will cost the Evergreen School District over $300,000.

John Steach
John Steach

As part of a public records request, the district released the resignation agreement with Steach, who had been superintendent since 2017. While the document doesn’t shed any more light on the reasons for Steach’s departure, it does state “the parties believe it is in their respective best interests that all employment matters as between Superintendent and the School District be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of each other.”

The district’s Board of Directors had been discussing whether to place Steach on administrative leave, but no details about what led to that discussion have been released, and the board has not responded to requests for comment.

This is the full resignation agreement for John Steach, provided by the Evergreen School District. (Click to view PDF)
This is the full resignation agreement for John Steach, provided by the Evergreen School District. (Click to view PDF)

Under the agreement reached, Steach was allowed to tender his resignation, effective March 5. Benefits will be allowed to continue through the end of April.

Within 30 days of March 5, the district agrees to pay Steach a lump sum payment of $301,812.17, which equals a year’s pay, including any unused vacation time and tax-sheltered annuity contribution based on Steach’s 2018-2019 contract.

Under Steach’s contract, the district only had to pay 12 months salary if he was fired or released without “cause,” meaning wrongdoing the board determined merited termination of employment.

The expense is sure to be an added hit to a district expecting a major budget shortfall next school year. While the final cuts are still being calculated, Vancouver School District recently announced a $14.3 million shortfall that is being closed through staff and program cuts.

While the reasons for Steach’s departure haven’t been made clear, there has been some subtext to statements made by interim Superintendent Mike Merlino and the district, as well as the Evergreen Education Association. You can read more about that here:

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