The Prince George's County (Md.) school board has voted to pay departing CEO Kevin Maxwell a severance of about $800,000.
The Washington Post reports that Maxwell is ending his tenure as chief executive of the 130,000-student district about three years before his four-year contract is over.
Board members approved the severance agreement 7 to 2.
His severance package includes $790,000 in compensation, payout of leave time and health benefits.
Maxwell came to Prince George's County in 2013 from the Anne Arundel (Md.) County district.
The tensions that flared during Maxwell’s tenure in Prince George's County were on display as he departed. On Thursday night, some board members talked about moving on while others denounced the payout to Maxwell and the scandals that unfolded in the past five years.
Maxwell’s contract extended until June 2021, and state law limits the circumstances under which he can be fired.
The CEO was not at the board meeting, and officials said Thursday was his last day. Monica Goldson, a deputy superintendent, was named acting CEO.
Maxwell announced May 1 that he planned to “transition” from the system following a tumultuous year that included controversies over inflated graduation rates and pay raises to high-level aides that some found excessive.
Segun Eubanks, chairman of the school board, acknowledged that he had asked Maxwell to leave. He declined to be specific about the timing but said it preceded Maxwell’s May 1 announcement.
School board member David Murray called the size of the payment alarming.
“I’m surprised because it’s close to a million dollars’ severance for one man not to do his job,” he said. “But I’m also not surprised because the board for years has refused to hold Dr. Maxwell accountable.”
Maxwell was hit with two major scandals during his first term — one involving a sex abuse case that raised questions about supervision and oversight, and a second that led to the collapse of a $6.4 million federal Head Start grant.
As he began his fifth year, his troubles worsened. The school system came under fire for grade tampering to increase graduation rates and pay raises to central office employees that were unauthorized or notably high.
The pay raises appeared to be a last straw for Maxwell, with more and more calls for him to step down or be fired.