WIS Investigates: New information in superintendent's resignation

Dr. Katie Brochu
Dr. Katie Brochu

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - After not getting answers from the Richland School District Two school board the night they accepted Dr. Katie Brochu's resignation, WIS filed a Freedom of Information Act request, asking for several things, including the terms of Dr. Brochu's resignation.

That information cleared up why the board was not disclosing information to the media.

Minutes after her resignation last month, Brochu would not answer questions.  She walked away from reporters. Now WIS knows why.

We received a copy of a four-page settlement agreement between the district and Dr. Brochu, one that says neither will make disparaging comments about the other publicly.

The release from Dr. Brochu's four-year contract included a more than $130,000 payout, more than half of the Superintendent's annual salary. It also forbid the district from adding anything to Dr. Brochu's personnel file, which we also got a copy of, including her employment contract from 2010.

That contract, which would have ended in June 2014, gave Dr. Brochu a $215,000 salary, up to $10,000 in relocation benefits, and an $850 monthly automobile expense. The contract lists three ways of termination, including a mutual agreement between Dr. Brochu and the district, but on the next page, the document stipulates if the superintendent is fired without a cause, she would be entitled to the exact severance package Dr. Brochu walked away with.

The night the board accepted Brochu's resignation, a board member said, "That was Dr. Brochu's decision and we honored it."

Dr. Brochu was not fired. She resigned, meaning that according to the contract she signed, the district was not obligated to pay her severance.

Inside Dr. Brochu's personnel file, we found a letter from school board President Chip Jackson to Dr. Brochu from November 2012. In it, Jackson expressed concerns of declining student achievement, and underperforming schools. Jackson also told Brochu that the district's image needed substantial improvement and that Brochu needed to communicate better with the board and with her employees.

Since Dr. Brochu's resignation, Dr. Debbie Hamm has taken over as interim superintendent.  It's not clear if she is in the running to be a permanent replacement.

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