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Retire/rehire request spurs controversy

A public hearing on the retire/rehire request by Talawanda Superintendent Kelly Spivey was held last Monday, with residents and staff speaking out both in favor and against the scenario.

Spivey presented her original request at the December board of education meeting, first submitting her request to retire effective June 30 and then a request to be rehired as superintendent under a new contract.

The rule currently states that one can only hold the superintendent position for two years, which would explain her desire for the retire/rehire request.

She currently makes $114,000 a year. According to state law, any such request requires the school board to hold a public hearing before taking action.

During Monday's hearing, Hanover Township resident Annie Dittman said she opposes retire/rehire scenarios, but has no issues with Spivey.

"I believe by allowing the retire/rehire option, you send mixed messages," she said.

She said one possible justification for such a move would be if no one competent to assume the role was available, but she doubted that is the case. If it is, however, she suggested a limited contract.

"I believe it should be for no more than two years," she said.

She closed by saying the district should not allow the practice.

Several teachers, however, are in favor of the plan, including the co-presidents of the Talawanda Educators Association.

Kate Bowers, a fourth-grade teacher at Marshall and one of the co-presidents, said she supports Spivey's request because the superintendent has encouraged creative problem solving while being fiscally responsible, adding Spivey offers "palpable support we feel as employees."

On a personal level, she said she likes having women in leadership roles, which sets a "wonderful precedent."

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The other T.E.A. co-president, Greg Cawein, a high school teacher, also spoke in favor of the rehiring re

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