Lake Worth trustees may seek 'separation agreement' from superintendent

Posted Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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LAKE WORTH -- School trustees unhappy with the Lake Worth school district's low test scores will consider a "voluntary separation agreement" with Superintendent Janice Cooper at their meeting Monday. .

While the agreement is listed on Monday's agenda for the board's regularly scheduled meeting, Lake Worth school board President Armando Velasquez said Friday that he doesn't expect the board to actually vote because an agreement has not been reached with Cooper.

Cooper, who has been superintendent for 14 years, said in an email to the Star-Telegram Sunday that "some of the board members and I have a very different vision for the district than others do."

"The District has the healthiest fund balance in its history, beautiful facilities, and great staff members who continue to do their best for children. I am thankful for my 18 years in Lake Worth ISD, 14 as superintendent," she added.

Cooper earns $150,000 a year and receives a $500 monthly car allowance, according to her contract.

Trustees have been dissatisfied with Cooper's performance for some time, saying they were unhappy with low test scores, among other things, that have been plaguing the small northwest Tarrant County district.

Lake Worth has an academically acceptable rating, but its high school is rated unacceptable.

Last summer, former board President Andy Beason resigned, saying that he had enough and that it was time to "go on down the road."

In June, trustees voted to extend Cooper's contract through June 2014.

Meanwhile, Velasquez said that after Cooper's contract was renewed, board members hoped to see improvement in the superintendent's performance.

In December, Cooper was evaluated, and Velasquez said there were still concerns about Cooper's "declining" performance.

"We haven't seen improvement; we haven't seen a good plan in place," he said.

Cooper said her differing vision for the district has been evident since the November board election, but that she has been clashing with some of the board members for the past year.

"If I reach an agreement with the board I look forward to new opportunities," Cooper said. "If not, I will continue to serve the district to the best of my ability."

Elizabeth Campbell, 817-390-7696

Twitter: @fwstliz

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