Editor's note: This is the complete text of the statement by Lori Jonason, Rochester School Board chairwoman, e-mailed to the Post-Bulletin on Wednesday. The e-mail was forwarded to the newspaper by school district attorney Nancy Vollertsen.
I am concerned that the articles and editorials in this week's Post-Bulletin about Mark Shellinger's resignation have errors that could be potentially damaging to his reputation. I am giving you the following information without violating data privacy laws or waiving attorney-client privilege. It is provided to you with Mr. Shellinger's knowledge and consent.
Because of a dispute about the interpretation of Mr. Shellinger's employment contract, the parties have been engaged in negotiations through their respective legal counsel, which are protected through attorney-client privilege. The Board regarded Mr. Shellinger as an "at-will employee" and Mr. Shellinger disagreed. The Board had no desire to harm his professional reputation and did not accuse him of any wrongdoing. This situation was caused by management differences. Through Mr. Shellinger's contributions, the District was able to accomplish several of its goals. Mr. Shellinger's resignation was negotiated by the parties. Mr. Shellinger was willing to continue as Superintendent through the term of the contract, was willing to accept an improvement plan, and if that was not acceptable, to perform his job responsibilities at least until June 30, 2002. The Board preferred to begin the transition to a new superintendent rather than offer an improvement plan, in exchange for a negotiated resignation that would resolve potential disputes about his employment rights. Any agreement between Mr. Shellinger and the Board will be a matter of public record. We appreciate Mr. Shellinger's willingness to resolve the matter amicably, thank him for the work he did, and wish him future success.
I do not plan to make any further comment about this matter.