East Chicago School Board will not extend superintendent's contract

2012-12-01T00:00:00Z 2012-12-03T06:50:08Z East Chicago School Board will not extend superintendent's contractCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

EAST CHICAGO | When a motion to immediately terminate East Chicago Superintendent Michael Harding's contract failed during a meeting Thursday, the School Board voted unanimously not to extend the superintendent's contract.

Harding could not be reached for comment Friday.

By law, a school administrator must be notified in writing before Dec. 31 if the contract will not be renewed.

The board of trustees unanimously approved a motion by Trustee Frank Rivera not to extend Harding's employment contract beyond his termination date of August 2014. It also approved a motion to issue written preliminary notice of the nonrenewal of Jane Larson's contract as chief academic officer. Larson could not be reached for comment Friday.

East Chicago School Board Attorney Dan Friel, who handles labor relations, said Harding has a contract that contains language requiring the board notify him by Jan. 1 or the contract will be extended automatically for a year. Friel said Larson has a teacher's contract, and the board is giving her notice it intends to not renew her contract at the end of this school year.

The community has been in an uproar for more than two years regarding the school district's leadership, said a board member who did not want to be named. "We evaluated him based on his performance as a leader and how schoolchildren are performing," the board member said. 

Harding became superintendent in August 2009. His contract ends Aug. 31, 2014.

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