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Crane buyout, current sup't. salary combined totals $357,000 in Blackfoot

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: Dec 12 2012 06:25:41 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 12 2012 07:17:32 PM CST

Caleb James reports.

BLACKFOOT, Idaho -

Since we first told you about the Blackfoot School District 55's quarter million dollar payout to ex-Superintendent Scott Crane, many of our viewers have been asking what happens to the money. Does Crane have to pay it back?

After district patron Joyce Bingham and the Post Register took the district to court and won, Crane's separation agreement with the district, in which he would get a $220,000 payout over the next two years, was made public. Where this all ends up, though, is up to your interpretation of the law.

On Monday, the district admitted to violating the Idaho Open Meetings Law, which is important to the future of that separation agreement and the the $220,000, because Idaho Code 67-2347 says a violation of the law is only cured by "declaring void all actions taken at or resulting from the improper meeting."

On Wednesday, interim Superintendent Chad Struhs said the board does realize the contract is now void, and the trustees are working on deciding what to do from here.

But more is being spent on the situation than indicated in the separation agreement.

At the same time the $220,000 was promised to Crane in the April 20 separation agreement, Struhs signed his own contract, totaling more than $130,000.

Documents among the district's 2012 contracts reveal Struhs is currently making $108,000. He took away $9,000 for taking over for Crane in June. And because the district didn't hire an assistant superintendent, Struhs is also allocated a $20,000 stipend.

Add the current superintendent's salary and the Crane payout, the district is paying a total of $357,000 for one position.

Dale Storer, the former Idaho Falls city attorney, said he drafted Crane's separation agreement with the district at the school board's request.

The next board meeting will be held Dec. 20. Struhs said the board has not yet decided how this whole thing will be addressed then, but there will likely be a lot of the community at that meeting.

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