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Jefferson superintendent plans to resign on July 1

The Courier-Journal

LOUISVILLE -- Donna Hargens is leaving her post as superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools.

On Thursday evening, the Jefferson County Board of Education struck an agreement with Hargens that calls for her to exit at the end of this school year, effective July 1.

The move had been anticipated for months. It came during a special meeting scheduled in large part so the board could have an executive session to have a deliberation that "might lead to the dismissal of an individual employee."

Hargens will continue to earn her salary, which is $276,000 a year, until her resignation, and the board will contribute $60,000 to a tax-deferred annuity plan or another investment plan for her.

In addition, the board agreed to pay Hargens $48,000 cash in lieu of what she would have received in health care benefits through June 30, 2019, which is when her contract was to conclude. And it will pay Hargens for up to 90 accumulated unused sick days, at a discounted rate, and for up to 60 accumulated vacation days. All told, Hargens could end up with up to about $200,000 in deferred annuity, sick and vacation payouts and cash for health care benefits.

The board, which voted unanimously for the new contract, thanked Hargens for her service and said it now "intends to move forward with a sense of urgency to find a successor to the superintendent, and to take actions that will continue to improve the education that it provides for all children of Jefferson County."

The relationship between Hargens and the board became more tense after the Kentucky Department of Education announced it was launching a full-blown management audit, which could end with the state taking over the district.

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