Letter: School board must mitigate future Baldwin investment

To the Editor:

Editor’s note: The following was sent to school board Chairwoman Fran Walton.

We are new residents and our children attend kindergarten at BMES. We could not be happier in the community we have chosen.

As with most families, we are following the story of Superintendent Baldwin with great interest. While clearly plagiarism could be considered the most egregious of actions, and certainly subject to a “termination for cause” action, it is clear that any need for further investigation was negated by Baldwin’s decision to resign.

I think this decision is a good one for all; however, what raises a red-flag is your quote: “We are entering into a resignation agreement, which means that we are negotiating.”

What this says to me is Baldwin’s choice to resign is about money, since there is now a negotiation surrounding this action. Roughly, Baldwin has nearly $530,000 remaining on her contract. My hope is her contract contains a clause which does not obligate the board to pay any monies, or benefits, to an employee who chooses to resign on their own volition — or be terminated for cause, as determined by the board. If such clauses are not contained, that is a subject for another discussion.

I suspect the details of Baldwin’s contract would need a FOIA request, as I haven’t seen the document in my short search. However, I feel it important for the board to communicate just what needs to be negotiated with an employee who chooses to resign. Baldwin’s tenure with Ridgefield is a short one. And I certainly don’t need to educate this group on what a standard severance package is for at-will employees.

It is the board’s obligation to mitigate any further investment related to Baldwin ending her employment.

I feel that it is appropriate for the board to address the above as soon as possible before any contractual decision are made regarding Baldwin’s departure.

Mark Semon

Mimosa Circle, March 19