Fired Burke Co. Superintendent to get $370K+ - | WBTV Charlotte

Fired Burke Co. Superintendent to get $370K+

BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The recently fired Burke County Schools Superintendent Art Stellar is getting a severance package worth more than $370,000.

School board members voted last week to offer a severance package to the former superintendent who was fired two weeks ago.  On Tuesday night, WBTV learned that Stellar will be getting $370,621.09 as a result of the buyout.

According to school officials, the state is paying a small part of the package through a payroll tax, but the county still will have to pay $357,069.63.

School Board Chair Catherine Thomas says there will be some savings, of sorts, by doing the buyout.  She told WBTV that Stellar had ordered $600,000 worth of software for the elementary schools that the school board felt was not needed or wanted.

Thomas says that Stellar, made the purchase and had already paid a down payment of $158,000. The school system has canceled the software purchase and has been told it will get the money back.

Despite the decision, many in the community support the board's decision.

When it was announced that Stellar had been fired, dozens of people who were at the meeting gave board members a standing ovation, applauding the bold move.

"I think those of who do understand the necessity of this have to educate those who do not about the long-term investment and the well-being of the education in Burke County," said resident Edna Weller.

James Causby, a parent, echoed that sentiment.

"I'm so glad that we can now look forward to a better future for our children and our teachers and the staff," he said.

The first day of school in Burke County is on Thursday. In the meantime, longtime Burke County principal Larry Putnam has been named the interim superintendent.

No permanent replacement will be named as superintendent until after the new school board is sworn in later this year.

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