Morris County USD 417 has announced it has terminated its five-year relationship with Superintendent Aron Dody, according to The Council Grove Republican.
The Separation Agreement between Dody and the USD 417 Board included these provisions:
- The superintendent’s salary and KPERS contributions through June 30th of this year. Dody earned $132,336 this school year, according to Board Clerk Jim Crosby.
- A lump sum payment of $115,000 on July 5th in exchange for the signed Agreement. The payment is not considered salary or other compensation.
- Continued dental coverage through July 31st.
After Dody’s removal was announced, the district published a statement in The Republican and on social media:
Dear USD 417 Families,
At a special meeting held on June 19th, the USD 417 Morris County Board of Education and Superintendent Dr. Aron Dody agreed to a separation. This was a difficult decision for both parties. The Board members, administration, District office staff, and Dr. Dody are required to keep all details of the separation and agreement confidential. Please respect their duty of confidentiality. The District thanks Dr. Dody for his years of service and wishes him success in his future endeavors.
On June 20th, the following evening, Ms. Nancy Meyer was appointed as our Interim Superintendent through June of 2024. Ms. Meyer has a wealth of experience in district and building level leadership and a passion for public education. We would like to welcome her to the USD 417 Morris County family, and we ask that you please afford her a hearty welcome and a bit of patience as she hits the ground running with our district.
There are countless reasons to be excited about a bright future at Morris County U.S.D. 417 — our students, our staff, and our community are made up of great people who take pride in their work and in our schools. Thank you for all you do to make our schools what they are, and thank you for your partnership as we move forward together as a school family.
~USD 417 Board of Education
Controversies have dogged the Council Grove district recently.
An audit criticized Dody and the district over the purchases of two school vehicles with a Covid-19 grant without receiving competitive bids for the automobiles. More recently, administrative jobs went to a business manager and a transportation manager with neither announcements of job openings nor interviews. Those two individuals subsequently resigned their new positions, as did the district’s curriculum director.
Even the ouster of Dody was not without its drama, according to Jan Sciacca, publisher of The Republican. She reported the school board meeting on the superintendent’s fate was not announced ahead of time, as required by the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA). However, the district countered that a stipulation in Kansas Statute 72-1138 allows for such a circumstance if board members sign waivers allowing it:
“Special meetings may be called at any time by the president of the board or by joint action of any three members of the board. Unless waived, written notice, stating the time and place of any special meeting and the purpose for which called, shall be given each member of the board at least two days in advance of the special meeting and no business other than that stated in the notice shall be transacted at such meeting.”
According to the newspaper, Interim Superintendent Meyer has served in the same capacity recently at USD 109 in Republic County and USD 378 in Riley County, following full-time positions as superintendent in Holton and Marmaton Valley Schools.