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Article of Interest - Michigan

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Bridges4Kids LogoWatkins to Work Without Contract
MIRS, August 10, 2004
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State Board of Education President Kathleen Straus today told MIRS that Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins will work without a contract until late January or early February because of a conflict with the State School Code that places restrictions on when the board can offer the superintendent a contract.

A section in the state School Code prohibits the state board from offering or extending a superintendent contract within six months prior to or two months after a general election. Straus said when the Board acted last year to extend Watkins' contract until Sept. 30 this year, it didn't think about the provision in the School Code limiting contract action in an election year.

“We thought it made sense to have his contract renewal correspond with the fiscal year,” Straus said. The state's fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Straus told MIRS the whole issue is essentially moot because a clause in Watkins' current contract states that in the event Watkins continues his “employment and appointment with the State Board of Education following the expiration or termination of this Agreement and the parties do not enter into another written agreement,” he agrees that his employment “shall continue on an at-will basis for no definite period of time.”

Voters will elect two members to the Board in the upcoming November general election. The terms of Marianne McGuire and Herbert Moyer expire on Jan. 1, 2005.


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