The Fort Madison School Board voted Wednesday night to table a possible extension of Superintendent Erin Slater's contract. President Tim Wondra said the board needed more time to evaluate Slater's performance.
“We’ve still got a lot more information and stuff to go through and work through,” said Wondra.
The board met behind closed doors for about an hour Wednesday night to conduct the evaluation. But that was not enough time to complete its work so the board met behind closed doors for another two hours after its regular business meeting, wrapping up its session at 12:11 a.m. Thursday.
“As you see tonight, we brought down the district’s attorney to help guide us through this whole process,” said Wondra prior to the reconvened closed meeting. “We want to make sure everything is done accordingly.”
Slater’s status came into question following a news report - and subsequent backlash - about a week ago that Slater was concerned about Fort Madison High School baseball players not receiving as much playing time on a shared team with Holy Trinity High School, a Catholic school also based in Fort Madison.
The situation escalated on social media and in the real world with the district’s high school basketball coach publicly accusing Slater of threatening his job over playing time.
Tri States Public Radio asked Wondra if he was concerned about the relationship between the district and the community following the events of the past week.
“We are always concerned about that relationship,” said Wondra. “We work very, very hard to build a positive relationship. It’s unfortunate that for every 20 positive things we do, one negative thing outweighs that 20 times over and overshadows all of that positive stuff that happens and goes on.”
Wondra said it was too soon to say if the approval of Slater’s contract would be on the agenda for the school board’s meeting in July. No further closed sessions are scheduled at this point.
Wondra said Slater is working under a rolling contract that expires June 30, 2021. He said that means instead of approving a new contract at the end of the previous deal, the school board simply adds years to the existing deal.
Slater did not respond to Tri States Public Radio's request for comment.