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Amid Racial Tension, Lee's Summit Will Pay Its First Black Superintendent $750,000 To Resign

Elle Moxley
KCUR 89.3
Former Lee's Summit Superintendent Dennis Carpenter speakes to the media in June after the school board agreed to diversity training it had at first rejected.

Dennis Carpenter, the embattled Lee’s Summit superintendent who clashed with the school board over an equity plan, has resigned.

Carpenter, the district’s first black superintendent, received a one-year contract extension in March and will leave with $750,000, a portion of which will be paid by insurance. Details of the agreement have not been released yet.

“The agreement includes provisions under which the parties agree not to discuss the negotiations leading up to the agreement,” the district said in a statement. “For that reason, neither the Board nor Dr. Carpenter will make any further statements about the agreement. We sincerely thank Dr. Carpenter for his service to our students, staff and community. 

“With this, the Board of Education wants to emphasize that it remains committed to the work of our approved equity plan and the components of the plan.”

Carpenter’s efforts to close the achievement gap for students of color have roiled the community for months, though the school board ultimately passed an equity plan. Some white parents and members of the teachers union called for his resignation, and in May, a frustrated Carpenter told the board to release him from his contract if they weren’t serious about diversity training. Last week, Carpenter sent a Tweet condemning President Donald Trump’s remarks about four Congresswomen of color that upset some white parents.

Emily Miller, the assistant superintendent of operations, will take over as acting superintendent. 

Reporters Andrea Tudhope and Lisa Rodriguez contributed to this report.

Elle Moxley covers education for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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