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Wendt, Former School Board Settle Lawsuit Over Severance Pay

The settlement drops the Ankeny, Iowa district's lawsuit against former Superintendent Matthew Wendt and cuts in half the amount of transition pay he will receive from Ankeny Schools.

Matthew Wendt and his former school district in Ankeny, Iowa have settled over the amount of severance pay Wendt is entitled to, the Ankeny school board announced Monday night.

Following a closed session, the Ankeny board voted 7-0 to approve the settlement with Wendt. It cuts the amount of his severance package in half, from a year's pay to six months salary. The total is about $88,000 or $14,709 a month; down from the previous severance package of $176,000.

Wendt and the district will pay their own legal fees. The settlement also says that Wendt, along with the school board, must not publicly disparage the others. A breach of that agreement would pay $14,709 per comment.

The district's lawsuit had accused when members voted in May to amend his contract prior to his resignation to take a position in the Oswego.

"It was important to resolve this matter with Dr. Wendt," said board president George Tracy in a statement. "This settlement saved the district a significant amount of money and allows the Ankeny school district to turn its attention to more pressing educational issues. Both parties have realized the value of putting this matter in the past and moving forward."

Wendt said in a statement: "I am pleased to have a settlement reached, I feel the final resolution represents a compromise that puts the matter in the past and is clearly in everyone's best interest. This agreement allows my family and me to move forward. I have many fond memories of the five years serving as the Ankeny superintendent and I have nothing but best wishes for the school district."

Dale September 11, 2012 at 12:32 PM
That's so great! I wonder if he decided to leave dist 308 at the end of the year just how much money Oswego will pay to him! Let's not worry about the lessons that this shows to our children. The man should have agreed to give it all back and live with the contract that dist 308 has with him
Jane Enviere September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I doubt that too many D308 kids even know who the superintendent is, let alone the terms of his separation from his previous employer. lol
debbie buelow September 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM
people are greedy now a days . look at chicago with the teachers
Dale September 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Does it really matter how many know about it? If only one acts this way in the future its too many. Not to mention the money that could have gone to the former district. Let's invite this behavior and attitude here.
Alette Anderson September 11, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Dale-that will be $14,709,
Dale September 11, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Lol - if I stole the amount he did I'd be able to afford it
Jill K. Amoni September 11, 2012 at 01:16 PM
My prediction...this man's character will have him gone from this district by 2015. New lovers usually part by the 3rd month or the 6th... I am being generous...it could be earlier but this is no man...he's a mouse...he's sly and cunning and not at all becoming. District 308 will rue the day they thought this man would do this job honorably, but they were warned and early on!! These types of entanglements often last longer than personal ones because saving face often trumps admission of stupidity....
Debbie September 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I want to offer my deepest condolences to my former school district for the unfortunate acquisition of Dr. Wendt. You have hired a man who lacks any semblance of morals and integrity and this goes beyond what he did with his scam regarding his severance. I wish you luck. Please keep your eyes open at all times and remember: never turn your back on a snake. “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” ― C.S. Lewis “There are two types of education....one should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live." -- John Adams, US statesmen and president Debbie McKittrick - OHS Graduate class of 1980 and Current Ankeny Iowa resident, taxpayer and mother of 3 boys in the Ankeny Iowa School System
oswegoanbychoice September 11, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Pay better attention when you make comments. Chicago teachers are not striking for more money, watch the news or read the papers. They are fine with the raise they were offered, they are striking for better working conditions and terms of the evaluations.
texson68 September 11, 2012 at 03:25 PM
As a resident if District 308, I am uneasy about a settlement where the issue was the integrity of the man responsible for leading our district. A settlement smacks of compromise on an issue of honor.
Working for Oswego September 11, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I still believe there is not a one of us out there that would decline a severance package if offered. The Ankeny BOE knew he was looking for another job (unless District 308 BOE did not do a reference check...ooops...you've got me there....that is a distinct possibility). Did they offer an outlandish sum? Yes...but THEY offered it. The fact that Wendt settled with his former Board does not mean he gave in because he was wrong...it most likely meant he was tired of the barrage of unfounded comments, stress and paying attorney fees...he wanted to get it over with so he could move on with his life. Will he do a good job here? Time will tell, and I am sure if he doesn't do what the the 308 Board wants, they will open the door, point him in the right direction and give him a gentle push...just like they did with all the administrators that left over the summer. I doubt there is any person that could come into this position that people wouldn't complain about. You need to get over the fact that this is a high paying position and that your children need strong leadership and let them try and do their job. People are very judgmental as they sit back and do nothing.
Martin September 11, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I don't know anyone when presented\asked for a severance of 1 year of pay, would turn it down. With all the back lash from D308, I wouldn't be shocked if he was looking. Judging by the comments here, everyone hates him and he hasn't had a chance to change much...the BOE is responsible for the Murphy and Walking fiascos. I agree, he'll most likely leave summer 2015...end of contract, right? Unless the atmosphere changese, he'll leave or maybe the BOE won't renew his contract
Martin September 11, 2012 at 05:32 PM
The CTU authorized the strike based on pay, but the actual strike is over re-hiring and evaluation of teachers....not money. They are getting their 16% raise.
Martin September 11, 2012 at 05:34 PM
My kids do. Mentioned it over dinner. They understand the frustration from Ankeny over taking it knowing he was leaving. As well as the contractual requirements that Wendt didn't enforce to its highest degree. The contract he was working under gave him a 2 year severance, he re-negotiated to 1 year.
Dale September 11, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Severence pay is something offered as you are leaving a position. What this guy did was sign a contract to stay where he was. Not to many days later he signed another contract. Its obvious that what he kept and why it was in the court system in the first place was because he decided to keep money that wasn't earned. It was in no way considered a severence pay. Again, what kind of people are we wanting our children to follow?
Oswego Resident September 11, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Where did you get this from Dale? From all of my reading (and I read most of the Patch articles from both Oswego and Ankeny) The Ankeny BOE wanted him gone and offered a package of money for him to leave. This was after they had initially agreed to a contract extension! The Ankeny BOE is the one with egg on their faces in this whole fiasco, if you ask me.
Jane Enviere September 11, 2012 at 08:59 PM
The guy is a high level school administrator, not the second coming of Christ. Big whoop. It would be wonderful if people paid as much attention to far more pressing issues like curriculum and the upcoming changes to education as they do to a disagreement between a man and his former employer. It has nothing to do with us. Nothing to do with what my children experience in the classroom. He's not the Pied Piper, no parade of kiddos following behind drinking the unethical Kool-Aid. Jesus himself (or highly regarded figure of your choice) could arrive to lead the district and someone would find fault. lol
Loreta J. September 11, 2012 at 09:11 PM
LOL! Love Jane's comment, and I agree. People are making personal attacks on a man they do not know personally. The name calling, the assumptions, etc are not in anyone's best interest. Let him do his job. I actually look forward to seeing what good things are possible...why get all negative before things even get going? He hasn't done anything wrong by our kids, so lets move forward, and hope for a improved future.
Marty September 11, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Don't forget about the Terry Tamblyn era a while back. We gave him a big check when he left also
Kristine Neumann September 11, 2012 at 11:12 PM
"Wendt and the district will pay their own legal fees". Who exactly is "the district"?
russ harrison September 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Jane> Jesus does not have a Doctorate degree and a battery of attorneys....
Mark Z September 12, 2012 at 12:09 AM
The district is the Ankeny School District, who began the legal actions against Wendt.
J Goodsmith September 12, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Dale - I'm sorry you are so uninformed. Go to the Des Monies Register web site, download the contact and read it. The original agreement offered 2 years 'transition' if he left for any reason. The amended contract offered him to continue working for Ankeny, or a one year transition payment if - repeat if, he acted before July 2012 - which he did. I'm more upset that he decided to end the nonsense and settle, I think this would have been tossed out of court by the judge. What you have is a Board in Ankeny that could not stand the heat after it became public that they had to pay him.

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