Q2 Morning Email Newsletter

Sep 27, 2011 9:58 AM by Amanda Venegas

Recap: SD2 trustees terminate superintendent's contract

BILLINGS - One year after serving as Billings School District Two's Superintendent, Dr. Keith Beeman is terminated by trustees. In what seemed to be inevitable from the start of the special meeting, board members voted seven to two for the termination with Chair Barbara Bryan and Trustee Greta Besch Moen in the minority. Trustees Lindy Graves and Vice Chair Kathy Aragon will now help negotiate a severance package for Beeman by the end of October.

Two weeks after the Billings School Board voted against extending Superintenent Doctor Keith Beeman's contract, trustees voted this time seven to two to terminate his contract as the district's top leader. Some trustees say the decision, wasn't made overnight. It was the culmination of rising tension over the past year.

Trustee Travis Kemp recounted why he made his decision to the board saying, I've had "massive amounts of public comment to myself, calls and in thank you notes. Basically I was doing my job as a trustee and fulfilling the wishes of everybody that voted me in."

Trustee Pam Ellis told the crowed of more than 100 people that with issues arising such as the union labor grievances, she saw it best to move in a different direction.

"Because the people part of this district has broken, I don't have confidence that Dr. Beeman can resolve that," said Trustee Pam Ellis.

Trustee Connie Wardell urged them to work through the issues.

"Please consider how we can go forward and work together because if we don't, we will go off that cliff and Kathy's absolutely right," said Trustee Connie Wardell of the upcoming deficits, " we're staring bankruptcy in the face."

With the district facing a $2.6 million deficit next year, Chair Barbara Bryan says the community needs to tell the board what it wants.

"What kind of superintendent do we want? And I think we need to quit asking people to be fiscally responsible, if we're going to fire them when they do that," said Chair Barbara Bryan.

With trustees looking for an ideal leader, a former board member told trustees now is the time to evaluate themselves.

"Take a look inside yourselves. Unfortunately the trust is gone here. The quicker you move forward, the better," said Karen Moses, former school trustee.

Q2 attempted to speak to Dr. Beeman and he declined to speak. Q2 also spoke with the presidents of the three unions and they all said communication has been lacking and they hope their issues can be resolved.

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