Brown was not eligible for sick leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, having worked for the district less than a year before he left. Officials responded to an open records request for documentation related to Brown’s leave of absence by saying no documents existed.
The district announced Brown would become a compliance officer last month. The position pays a maximum salary of about $64,000 a year, but Brown will keep his former, larger salary until his contract ends June 30.
School board members have addressed ongoing teacher recruitment issues and morale problems with increased frequency in recent months, questioning Brown during their monthly meetings about the continuing trend of many jobs still open, and about what’s being done to step up recruitment efforts. Two months before school ends for the year, the district still has more than 40 teacher vacancies.
Board member Stan Jester said he plans to spend some time during the budgeting season look at how the district employs administrative staff.
“At the top of my mind … I’m not sure why we have contracts for our central office staff,” he said. “When somebody is demoted or moved to a position that has a lesser salary, why do they keep their original salary, which often is much more than the salary that position pays? It’s happened several times lately.”
Brown’s absence came as the district struggled to deal with staff woes amid a national teacher shortage. The district has hired more than 80 uncertified teachers since September after being awarded strategic waiver school system status, which allows flexibility from some state rules while holding districts to more strict standards. The district, however, has more vacancies than it did this time last year, when it did not employ uncertified teachers.
Brown was brought to the district by Superintendent Steve Green. The two previously worked together at Kansas City Public Schools.