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ECPPS to pay Cartner $318K

030817Cartner

Former Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools Superintendent Larry Cartner, shown in in this March 7, 2017, file photo, will paid $318,000 under a "resignation agreement" with the ECPPS Board of Education.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Former Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools Superintendent Larry Cartner will be paid $318,000 under terms of his “resignation agreement” with the ECPPS Board of Education.

The ECPPS board accepted Cartner’s resignation Aug. 13, two weeks before the start of the new school year. On Monday, the board’s attorney released financial terms of the agreement.

John Leidy, the board’s attorney, said that financial terms of the agreement are public record. However, based on his understanding of state law, he deemed the agreement itself to be part of the former superintendent’s confidential personnel file. Therefore, the agreement will not be released, he said.

The total payments to Cartner under the agreement are less than half of what would have been owed to Cartner under his contract had the school board opted to terminate his employment without cause.

The terms of the agreement call for the board to make a payment of $105,000 to Cartner on Oct.1 and a second payment of $145,000 on or by Jan. 15, 2019. Cartner’s resignation from the school district takes effect on Sept. 30.

The board is also paying $4,000 for Cartner’s attorney fees.

The board is not required to pay taxes or retirement contributions on those payments, Leidy explained. But the board will be required to pay taxes and retirement contributions on additional “compensation” of $64,026, according to Leidy.

Had Cartner been terminated without cause the board would have had to pay a contract buyout of $540,000 and would have also faced additional costs in taxes and retirement contributions that would have brought the total cost to about $650,000, Leidy said.

The agreement also recognizes Cartner’s resignation as voluntary.

Neither Cartner nor members of the school have disclosed the reasons for Cartner’s decision to resign. Leidy said the agreement contains a provision that neither party will discuss details of the agreement.

Cartner came to ECPPS in 2015 from a job with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Pasquotank Board of Commissioners Chairman Cecil Perry said Tuesday that so far no one from the school board had contacted county officials about the resignation agreement but he hopes they will. He believes county officials should be provided some information about why the school board felt it needed to enter into the agreement with Cartner, he said.

“I certainly think that the county should know,” Perry said. “I do know that $300,000 is going to affect Pasquotank County.”

Perry said he trusts the school board to make the right decisions and added “I’m sure they did what they thought was right.”

Perry said he doesn’t know where the county will find $300,000 in the middle of a budget year. He indicated the school board might have to find somewhere to cut the school district’s budget in order to make the payments.

“That’s a lot of cutting,” Perry said.

He noted county officials have increased local funding to the school district in recent years because of a commitment to improving education.

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