From Mitchell Daily Republic: HURON — An agreement that remained secret for more than two years and sent thousands of dollars to an ex-superintendent was unsealed and read aloud Monday evening at a Huron Board of Education meeting .
The board voted during the meeting at the Huron Arena's Instructional Planning Center to unseal the five-page agreement, pursuant to a recent court order won by The Daily Republic. The agreement reveals that the board and then-superintendent Ross Opsal agreed in March 2011 to part ways before the expiration of his contract. The board agreed to pay Opsal his base salary plus extra amounts for retirement and health care each month for a period extending up to June 2012.
According to the terms of the agreement, the total amount of payments to Opsal could have been nearly $175,000 (the amount actually paid was not immediately available Monday night). Meanwhile, the district had hired and was paying a new superintendent.
The agreement did not explain why Opsal's employment ended, which is what The Daily Republic sought to know. The two current members of the Huron Board of Education who were members when the agreement was reached declined to say anything further Monday night about Opsal's departure from the district.
The Daily Republic, acting on a tip from a reader who saw payment amounts to Opsal listed in newspaper legal announcements after his departure, sought a copy of the agreement for a news story published in 2012. The district denied the request, and the denial sparked a fight over the document that finally ended Monday.
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Also see: Mitchell Daily Republic wins case against Huron (S.D.) schools for more background.