Kent ISD asst. superintendent retains salary in settlement

Kent County
An undated photo of William Smith, a former assistant superintendent within the Kent Intermediate School District put on paid administrative leave on June 19. (Courtesy)

An undated photo of William Smith, a former assistant superintendent within the Kent Intermediate School District put on paid administrative leave on June 19. (Courtesy)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent Intermediate School District assistant superintendent who was facing termination will continue to receive his salary in exchange for completing district projects and not pursuing a lawsuit, according to his settlement agreement.

Kent ISD Superintendent Ron Caniff shared the agreement reached with Dr. Bill Smith with Target 8 Friday afternoon. The school board approved the agreement Tuesday.

>>PDF: Settlement between KISD and Dr. Bill Smith

The terms state Kent ISD will pay Smith his $164,744 annual salary for assigned projects through May 15, 2021, which marks the end of the contract he was under when he was suspended earlier this year.

“Any such assignments or work shall be at KISD’s sole discretion: there are no requirements that KISD create or assign any work to Smith,” the agreement reads.

The agreement also means Smith can’t sue the district, which his attorney threatened at his disciplinary hearing last month.

“We entered into the settlement and release agreement, in part, to avoid not only significant legal costs, but also the strain that potentially protracted court proceedings would have brought on dozens of employees through depositions, testimony and other legal activity that would have cost precious time that would otherwise be spent better preparing students of Kent County… The agreement brings the episode to a close, and it ensures none will have to undergo the unpleasant experience associated with civil action,” Caniff said in an email to Target 8.

Smith’s legal team sent the following statement about the agreement:

“Bill Smith is pleased to have reached an agreement with the Kent ISD that allows all sides to avoid the risks and costs associated with litigation. He thanks those who have stood by him throughout his career, and looks forward to collaborating with the school district for the betterment of the students, teachers, and staff.”

The terms of the agreement also state Smith will work off-campus and “will not come onto KISD’s campus or buildings during the term of this Agreement without prior expressed permission… contact by Smith with current KISD employees… will be done by Smith through the KISD superintendent.”

Last month, Caniff recommended Smith be fired after an internal investigation substantiated complaints from employees at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Caniff also alleged Smith prioritized a software sold off to a private company in 2014 over the district’s interests. Target 8 previously obtained invoices Caniff cited in his termination recommendation.

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