SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale schools' superintendent of 15 years, Michael McGill, announced he will step down next year, a decision he said was made "free from fear" despite recent calls for his resignation from a large group of dissatisfied Scarsdale residents.
“I've had a good run, few regrets, and tremendous admiration for this place and so many of its people,” McGill said in a prepared statement at the Scarsdale Board of Education meeting earlier this week.
Hundreds reportedly attended the meeting, with a mix of supportive district residents and a number of those who wished to denounce him as superintendent.
“This isn't how I planned to announce my decision,” he said. “I've been advised that my critics will be encouraged and emboldened to think that their attacks have succeeded. The truth is that it's a good decision, that I made it free from fear, and that I would have had to announce it in the near future anyway.”
McGill also announced that he has accepted a one-year extension on his current contract that ends in June 2014 “to help the board with the current round of collective bargaining and also so it wouldn't have to take on a search for a new superintendent at the same time it was negotiating.”
His decision comes almost a month after Scarsdale’s $145 million schools budget was rejected by district voters on May 21.
“What I've heard from my critics is a mixture of disagreement over policy, polemic, partial truth and personal attack,” McGill said in a prepared statement. “Among the main arguments against me are the fact that I've championed policies they don't like and the assertion that I've somehow forced a succession of school board members to do my will – an accusation that insults the intelligent, decent, able citizens who've capably governed the schools over many years.
“My critics also dislike the fact that I've openly disagreed with people when I thought they were wrong and that I've been uncharacteristically short-tempered on at least one occasion,” He continued, “I'm not going to defend my record here. It is what it is. But I do want to discuss my contract and the future of this community.
The fate of the new school budget will once again be in the hands of the voters on June 18. This time, the spending plan totals $143 million.
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