School Chief Resigns

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Herb Weissenfels was noticeably absent when his resignation as superintendent of the Payson Unified School District was announced at a special school board meeting Thursday. The day before the meeting, Weissenfels cleared his office of all his personal belongings and vacated the building.

Immediately after the call to order, the board went into executive session and returned about 30 minutes later.

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Herb Weissenfels

Board President Vicki Holmes announced to the audience of PUSD administrators that the board had unanimously accepted Weissenfels' resignation effective June 30, 2005 and had settled on a severance agreement.

According to business manager Bobette Sylvester, the agreement includes paying the former superintendent his salary and benefits through June 30, 2005.

Weissenfels' contract was valid through June 30, 2006, but the district will not pay his final year, Sylvester said.

His annual salary was $91,190 plus a $5,000 travel allowance and a $7,000 family insurance plan.

Sylvester said Weissenfels has agreed to maintain phone contact with the district, but will not be present at the district office or any of the school campuses.

Weissenfels had been under fire the past several weeks partly for the district's failure to report that school bus driver, mechanic and coach Bryan Parkerson tested positive on a drug test.

Cocaine showed up in the urinalysis of Parkerson in late January and the results were never reported to the Department of Public Safety as state law requires.

Parkerson was not fired until April 18.

The district could be cited for not reporting the failed drug test.

Following the announcement of Weissenfels' resignation, the board returned to executive session.

In a written statement, the members said their task in the session would be to "focus on developing a transition team and appointment of interim administrator/superintendent to take the district through the next several months."

One by one, the board summoned the administrators into executive session as speculation mounted in the audience as to who would replace Weissenfels.

Two possibilities are Payson Elementary School Principal Roy Sandoval and Payson High School Principal Sue Myers. Both hold superintendent credentials and have experience on the district level.

Sandoval served several years in the district office as a curriculum director under former superintendent Russ Kinzer and Myers was superintendent/principal at Pine-Strawberry Elementary District.

A replacement superintendent will be announced, at the earliest, at the May 9 regular board meeting, Holmes said.

Following the executive sessions, the board announced that an interim administrative team made up of current employees would oversee the district until June 2006.

Weissenfels, who had been superintendent since July 1999, was not available for comment.

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