Superintendent gets $100,000-plus separation deal

WYOMING, Mich. - Under the terms of a separation agreement, Godwin Heights Superintendent Valdis Gailitis will receive $118,442 in salary in 2009 before his resignation takes effect Aug. 2, according to The Grand Rapids Press. Gailitis will not be allowed on school grounds without permission while he continues to receive his salary, an additional $1,000 per month, three weeks of vacation pay and a $40,000 lump sum payment, The Press reported.

Gailitis has been on paid leave since Oct. 28, according to The Press. A school investigation found no wrongdoing by Gailitis related to an alleged inflated-enrollment scam at the district's alternative high school, but he and school officials agreed he should resign, The Press reported. The agreement stipulates that "nothing of an adverse nature" will be added to the superintendent's personnel file.

"It sounds like he can sit home and get paid for eight months, but it seems like a small price to pay to get us going forward," said Nick Harrison, a parent, according to The Press.

Gailitis did not attend the board meeting when the agreement was approved and did not return calls seeking comment, The Press said.

A criminal investigation of the alleged enrollment fraud at Godwin Learning Center by the state attorney general's office continues, as does a whistleblower lawsuit filed by a secretary who notified the state that attendance records were doctored or fabricated in order to obtain more state aid, The Press reported.

Interim Superintendent Pat Murphy said he will continue with the district for now, but may work part-time because working too many days could affect his retirement benefits, according to The Press.

The Grand Rapids Press, "Godwin Heights superintendent, board agree on his leaving," Jan. 13, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "Saginaw pays to get rid of teacher," Aug. 27, 2008