Superintendent Blane McCann said it was simply time to move forward in . But some in the community believe there's more going on behind the scenes, and accusations surfaced publicly at Tuesday's School Board meeting.
Former School Board member John Carlton told Patch Tuesday he was told by some of the board and McCann that board members Colin Plese, Michael Mishlove and Rob Reinhoffer refused to negotiate with him on a new contract, forcing him into retirement.
"They have forced the retirement of an excellent superintendent," Carlton said. "My concern is, the way that this has gone down may cause us to lose other administrators. Good administrators.
"I don't know why they thought this was necessary."
Crowd also levies charges
Meanwhile, a local non-profit educational foundation working to raise funds to fill budget gaps — Supporters of Excellence in Educational Development (SEED) — also believes something is afoot. SEED President Melissa Nelsen sent out a call to action via an email a few hours before the meeting, and a crowd of parents and residents swelled to about 50.
And while the crowd passionately asked McCann reconsider or blamed board members for either not doing enough to retain him or forcing him to retire, board members contended it was McCann's choice alone to retire.
Mishlove rebuked Carlton's comments, labeling them as inaccurate, but said he wouldn't elaborate further on Carlton's discussion with other board members. When asked about whether he was forced out, McCann said he stood by his "move forward" comment.
The board voted 4-1 to accept McCann's retirement request, with board Vice President Ruth Treisman casting the lone vote against. The retirement, effective July 9, ends McCann's decade-long tenure at the head of the district.
McCann's contract was renewed last February through the 2012-13 school year. His 2011 salary was $152,250, according to figures from the state Department of Public Instruction.
A confidential personnel matter
Mishlove said he wouldn't discuss the circumstances of McCann's decision and that it should be treated as a confidential personnel matter, but he did say McCann is leaving under a negotiated package and the accusations that they pushed him out are completely inaccurate.
"It's sad and it's disappointing. We are losing a good person," Mishlove said.
Patch reported in April that near his hometown in suburban Columbus, OH, later removing his name from the consideration.
Mishlove said he thinks it was evitable McCann would pack up and move on.
"I'm disappointed. I have kids in the district. I'm not interested in seeing the district go downhill," he said. "I look forward to seizing the opportunity of transition, to move forward with new initiatives and a new chapter in Shorewood.
"I don't think a lot of the sentiment expressed in the meeting tonight is healthy for the district. I respect them; there's a lot of emotion attached to it. But my eyes are fixed on the long-time health and success of the district."
Zovic: No connection to non-candidacy
But some didn't buy the board's rebuttals.
"I think the community is rather aware of why Blane has offered his letter and which ones of you are behind it," resident Catherine Flaherty said. "I'm very troubled by this news."
Another resident and SEED board member, Sarah McEneany, raised the question of how to recall board members because she's worried about the state of the district with "dysfunction occurring," McCann leaving and .
"As a citizen, I'm extremely disappointed," McEneany said. "As a parent, I'm worried."
Zovic said there are changes in his life that require the focus of his time and effort and McCann's retirement played no part.
School officials say they will start the process of searching for McCann's replacement in the several coming weeks.