Oxford High School Principal Todd Dunckley will receive a compensation payment of $52,000 for his unofficial role as International Program Administrator from June 2010 to June 2015, following a 6-1 vote by the Oxford Board of Education.
During the discussion, Treasurer Mike Schweig asked Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Nancy Latowski whether an official contract containing the position’s description or salary exists.
According to Latowski, the contract was allegedly a verbal one between former Oxford Schools Superintendent Dr. William Skilling and Dunckley.
“There was an original letter when the services began to be performed stating $20,000 per year and Mr. Dunckley performed those services for numerous years… put in many, many hours— much of his own time— obviously, not connected with his work as principal or assistant principal. We looked at the amount of time that was taken from Mr. Dunckley and determined that this was an adequate amount to be paid,” Latowski told the board.
According to the letter, dated June 18, 2010, the $20,000 salary was to be incorporated into Dunckley’s “regular administrative salary amount and distributed throughout the remaining pays for the 2010-11 school year.”
The letter was signed by Latowski, back when her last name was Kammer and her title was Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources, features a letterhead of the June 2010 administration.
Duties performed by Dunckley in his unofficial position were aimed at helping launch Oxford’s International Program and included the design and set-up of the program, recruitment of students (which included a five-week business trip on Dunckley’s part), securing home placement for students, hosting dignitaries and conducting tours, organization of details for program, and conducting meetings with involved parties.
Dunckley never received any pay for these services, according to Latowski.
This payment was noted in the letter to be contingent “upon the program operating with a minimum of 20 students.”
Although the program’s student count did not surpass 20 until 2012, Latowski told this reporter this was taken into account when determining Dunckley’s payment for services rendered. By 2015, when his involvement in the program ended, the student count had grown to include 92 students, according to Latowski.
Vice President Joyce Brasington said she wished the previous administration would have been more open about the creation of the role.
“It’s just unfortunate that six of the seven board members weren’t here during that… It really puts six of the seven of us in a really bad spot because we don’t have firsthand knowledge of what happened,” said Brasington. “It’s unfortunate… It’s very unfortunate. It speaks poorly of the former administration, I think.”
The agreement was allegedly never brought to the school board’s attention, according to President Dan D’Alessandro, who was on the board at the time the agreement was made, nor was a vote ever taken to officially create the position.
“I was on the board (at that time). I was not (privy) to this information. I had a brief conversation with Mr. Dunckley. Mr. Dunckley brought to my attention some of things that he was doing outside (of his official role)… but (he) didn’t feel comfortable elaborating on it because of the environment (at the time). As I tried to get additional information, additional information was not available.”
Schweig was the lone dissenting vote.
“Why would we pay Mr. Dunckley for previous work… he was not contracted to do?” Schweig said. “I believe that Mr. Dunckley did not have a verbal contract with the Oxford Schools. He had a verbal promise from Dr. Skilling and he needed to (discuss) this promise— this is just my opinion— with Superintendent Skilling.”
According to Latowski, Dunckley put many hours of hard work into his establishment of Oxford’s International Program.
“We feel that the money is owed to the individual. I think it is unfortunate that there was not a signed contract. But, in terms of compensation owed, we do feel that he performed (the role) and we do owe him that compensation,” Latowski said. “Todd put in a great deal of time and effort to launch this program. His hard work was greatly appreciated.”