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Questions remain surrounding Paradise Valley Superintendent's resignation

Superintendent Dr. Jesse Welsh
Posted at 9:00 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 00:37:35-05

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Outgoing Superintendent of Paradise Valley Unified School District. Dr. Jesse Welsh will receive more than double his annual base salary as part of a severance payout from the district.

The governing board unanimously accepted Dr. Welsh's resignation on Monday, December 7, and according to his resignation agreement and release, the district will pay him $413,378.55 in January.

His original contract puts his annual base salary at $195,000.

Other terms of the three-year contract include:

-Up to $10,000 for moving expense from Nevada to Arizona

-A vehicle allowance of $700 per month.

-$5,000 as a salary addendum to support membership dues and other professional expenses

-18 days annually for personal leave

-24 working days each fiscal year as vacation

-$100 per month for a cell phone

-Eligibility to receive up to $10,000 of performance-based pay

The district and Dr. Welsh staying silent about the reason behind his resignation, and language in the resignation agreement and release prohibits them from sharing any additional details.

Dr. Welsh's official resignation letter saying in part, "The events due to the COVID-19 pandemic have presented unique challenges over the past several months. Adapting to the ever-changing circumstances has been a challenge for all of us."

Tensions have been high surrounding the district's decision to return to remote learning with only two benchmarks in red.

ABC15 confirmed Welsh and his family were threatened and harassed at their home and childrens' school by a small group of parents demanding in-person learning.

However, when it comes to his employment, the terms of Welsh's original contract show a "resignation" comes with "only base salary prorated to the date of termination," which in this case is December 31.

If the board "unilaterally terminates" Welsh, he gets a "severance payment" for the base salary and benefits left on his contract.

A meeting agenda dated November 19 also shows the governing board met in executive session for an informal review of Dr. Welsh's performance evaluation. and sought legal advice on his contract.

On Thursday the board is set to approve the contract for Dr. James Lee, who served as the district's superintendent for 10 years before retiring in 2019.