Lee's Summit board president steps down, superintendent placed o - KCTV5

Lee's Summit board president steps down, superintendent placed on leave

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The president of the Lee’s Summit Board of Education is stepping down but will continue her service to the community as a member of the board. (Lee’s Summit School Board) The president of the Lee’s Summit Board of Education is stepping down but will continue her service to the community as a member of the board. (Lee’s Summit School Board)
Superintendent David McGehee admitted last summer that he was romantically involved with one of the lawyers but the board refused to end their contract with her law firm. The district opted to hire lawyers for ethics reviews.  (KCTV5) Superintendent David McGehee admitted last summer that he was romantically involved with one of the lawyers but the board refused to end their contract with her law firm. The district opted to hire lawyers for ethics reviews. (KCTV5)
LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -

Parents in the Lee's Summit School District want the superintendent and school board president out and it seems some of their campaigning is working.

At a board of education meeting on Thursday, vice president Adam Rutherford announced the board voted to place superintendent David McGehee on administrative leave effective immediately while they negotiate what they are calling a leadership transition, suggesting he's on his way out. 

Parents are taking issue with how much McGehee is getting paid. According to his current contract, McGehee is raking in more than $350,000 in total compensation.

Community members are also concerned about his relationship with one of the school district's law firms. 

McGehee admitted last summer that he was romantically involved with one of the lawyers but the board refused to end their contract with her law firm. The district opted to hire lawyers for ethics reviews. 

"The first inkling you had that our superintendent had a relationship that would be considered inappropriate by anyone's standards, he should have been fired!" said a concerned parent.

The board said there was no conflict with the relationship, but this week, the lawyer announced she would not take any new work for the district.

Also on Thursday, the president of the Lee’s Summit Board of Education stepped down, but will continue to stay on as a member of the board.

“I am proud to serve as a volunteer board member in a strong school district that has a proven track record of student achievement,” Terri Harmon said in a written statement. “I am especially honored to work beside talented and dedicated education professionals who have devoted their lives to serving the students in our community."

Harmon said she believes her decision to step aside and allow another board member to assume the president’s role is in the best interest of the students and staff.

Parents believe that Harmon has made decisions that benefit McGehee without seeking sufficient input from other board members. Those calling for McGehee's removal are calling for her resignation as the leader behind the debacle over his salary. 

"I categorically deny any allegations that have been made about my conduct as a board member or as the president of the board. I welcome any investigation, as it would demonstrate my commitment to the laws of this state and the policies of our school district," Harmon said.

She went on to say that she would like to encourage everyone to read beyond social media posts and be cautious of information that is not backed by facts from reputable sources.

"Unfortunately, there are many statistics and statements being presented through social media that simply are not true," Harmon said.

A retired Lee's Summit teacher said if the superintendent is getting paid so well, so should the teachers.

"She [Harmon] states that we needed to give him [McGehee] a lot of money if we were going to keep him. Ladies and gentlemen of the board, you need to feel the same way about your teachers," Pam Henry said.

McGehee's salary in 2015 was $276,286. That contract put his next year at $288,027 but was revised this year to $304,330. 

>> See the details of McGehee's original contract here <<

He signed that document late last month. At that time, he already had a three year contract but the board renegotiated a year in, which outraged community members and parents.

"School teachers can't negotiate a contract once every year," said one community member.

Here's how McGehee's salary compares to other superintendents in the area:

  • David McGehee makes more than $300,000 to run the district of about 18,000 students.
  • Blue Springs superintendent Jim Finley is paid $179,000 to oversee more than 14,000 students.
  • Former KCPS superintendent Stephen Green was making nearly $260,000 to oversee 16,700 students.

The board would not specify what the leadership transition is, but by definition, it means changing leadership. They wouldn't say if they were considering a buyout package or if any numbers are on the table. 

Harmon says she intends to stay on the board as a voting member despite calls during Thursday's meeting for her to step down entirely.

While McGehee is on leave, the board announced Dr. Brent Blevins was appointed Lee's Summit's Interim Superintendent. 

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