Switzerland of Ohio superintendent and board split

Switzerland of Ohio Local Schools Superintendent Larry Elliott is leaving the district after more than seven years, with two years remaining on his contract.

According to a release from the district emailed Monday night, the board and Elliott approved a separation agreement at Thursday’s regular board meeting.

“Mr. Elliott and the (board) mutually agreed that it is in the best interest of all parties that the superintendent’s contract be terminated,” the release says. “The board of education is moving in a new direction, and they are confident this will allow them to pursue a new vision for the future of the students, staff and taxpayers of our district.”

Elliott could not be reached for comment Monday night.

The move comes as the district wrestles with major funding cuts and attempts to pass a five-year, $3 million-a-year emergency levy in November. Following the rejection of a levy in May by about 200 votes, Switzerland moved forward with the elimination of about 40 jobs, canceled plans to hire school resource officers and increased pay-to-participate fees for sports from $10 per student, per sport to $200 at the high school and $100 for junior high.

Earlier this month, the board also eliminated an assistant superintendent position.

Under the agreement, Elliott will end his regular duties as superintendent on Wednesday, but the district will continue to pay his salary and benefits for the rest of the year at a cost of $59,605.87. In turn, Elliott agreed to release the board from the remaining 19 months of his contract, saving the district $226,502.31 over that period.

“I’m not really satisfied, but that was the best we could do,” board Vice President Edward Carleton said Monday.

Carleton said the action was more a result of Elliott’s desire to leave than the board’s for him to go.

“The board was going one direction, and Mr. Elliott was going another,” he said.

In addition, the board will deduct 70 days of sick time that would otherwise have been paid to Elliott in severance, the release says. The cost of preparing the agreement was assumed by Elliott. The board and Elliott also agreed to release any and all claims they may now have or could have had against each other, the release says.

Starting Thursday, Elliott will assume duties related to the transition to a new superintendent and other administrative matters as requested by the school board president.

“These duties will be performed off-site and will not result in any additional compensation to Mr. Elliott,” the release says.

Kassie Anderson, director of special education, and Treasurer Lance Erlwein have assumed additional duties with the superintendent position vacant and the elimination of the assistant superintendent, the release says.

Carleton said a superintendent search should start “as soon as possible.”