A week after he was reportedly almost let go, it appears that Lansing School District Superintendent T.C. Wallace’s job is safe — at least until his contract expires in June 2011.
Lansing school board President Hugh Clarke, who acts as a spokesman for the board, says that there are no moves underway to remove or otherwise get rid of Wallace over his recent application for the schools chief job in Pontiac.
“Let me just say that I’m not aware of any plans — of anything — that could potentially interfere with him serving out his contract,” Clarke said after a Tuesday night school board meeting.
The status of Wallace, who was one of two finalists for the Pontiac job until he voluntarily withdrew, seemed to be up in the air last week. Last Monday, during a closed school board session, the body was either going to ask for Wallace’s resignation or fire him, said sources familiar with the meeting — but Wallace apparently didn’t show up for the meeting. Wallace, who is paid $175,000 per year, is about two years into his fouryear contract.
Clarke and district spokesman Steve Serkaian both denied that the meeting was over whether to terminate Wallace. Clarke went so far as to have the school system’s attorneys send a letter to City Pulse threatening potential legal action if a story intimated that Clarke wanted Wallace gone. School district attorney Barbara Ruga, of Grand Rapids-based Clark Hill, declined to say who in the school system asked the firm to send the letter, citing attorney-client privilege.
After last Thursday’s school board meeting, Clarke was cagier about the fate of Wallace. Under questioning about Wallace’s future with the district, Clarke would only say, “Dr. Wallace has a contract that goes through June of 2011.”
Wallace’s applying for the Pontiac job came to light in press reports almost three weeks ago. Wallace told local media that attended his interview in Pontiac that he was seeking the job because of a personal matter that had been ongoing for “three to four years” that involved a sick family member who lives in the vicinity of Oakland County. During his interview with the public in Pontiac, some there expressed doubt about Wallace’s motives, citing, among other things, the reduction in pay he might have to take.
Four days later, Wallace dropped out of the running for the job, issuing a press release saying that the family health matter had been resolved.
School board member Charles Ford, who was the only board member reached on this matter, agreed with Clarke’s statement.
“Not speaking for the board, do I feel things are behind us?” Ford said. "I feel it’s behind us. We’re looking to move forward. I just don’t feel we need to focus any more energy on it. We need to just go.”