Dueling lawsuits, low performance scores and a federal investigation in the Jasper County School District culminated Thursday in the announcement that its superintendent Vashti Washington will resign.
The Jasper County School District
Board of Trustees voted 7-2 to approve a resignation settlement for Washington
on Thursday following a two-hour closed door session, with board members Berty Riley and Bennie Hazel voting no.
Washington was hired as superintendent in 2010 and her contract was renewed through 2018 in a vote by board members last year.
The payment of $165,000 was stipulated as a condition of terminating her
But as part of Thursday's settlement Washington also agreed to the be available as a consultant to her successor should the need arise.
District officials say the resignation was amicable.
"The board wants to have the opportunity to select its own educational leadership and Dr. Washington desires to move on to new challenges," school board chairman Tedd Moyd said in a statement Thursday.
Most of the new members were critics of Washington's
leadership and proponents for change to improve the district's consistently low standardized test scores.
Karg and other district leaders said the resignation came from a culmination of disagreements over the management of the district, including class sizes that were too big and unspecified financial management issues, rather than any one specific act by Washington
was unavailable for comment as of press time Friday, but issued a statement saying she
was proud of the improvements the school district had made during her
"This has been a challenging year for me and for the Jasper County community, but we are coming out of it stronger than ever," Washington
wrote, whose husband died in June.
"Our students' test scores are improving, our school district's operations are running smoothly, and our faculty and staff are better than ever."
four years heading the district some community members organized rallies calling for accountability in the district leadership.
"There's been so much negativity from the school board and others about her," said Blaine Lotz, a Hilton Head Island resident and supporter of Washington
Washington also faced a federal investigation and two lawsuits from a school board member during her tenure as superintendent.
District officials have not been informed of any developments from the agencies and say Washington's resignation was not directly related to the investigation, said school board attorney Ken Childs with Columbia-based Childs & Halligan on Friday.
Horton filed a counterclaim in June 2014, claiming Washington's
lawsuit equated to harassment.
A settlement in the initial suit was filed Friday, according to court records, but attorneys for both Horton and Washington
could not be reached Friday for details of the settlement.