Ray Tolcacher isn’t officially leaving the Prosser School District until the end of the school year, but he’s not coming back to work.
The school board signed off on an agreement Tuesday night allowing the longtime superintendent to remain on paid leave until his retirement on June 30, 2018.
District officials have not said why Tolcacher is on leave, and he has not returned calls.
As part of the agreement, Tolcacher will receive his entire $137,245 salary along with about $54,500 for vacation, sick leave and other compensation.
The board unanimously approved the nine-page agreement 5-0 at Tuesday’s meeting without any comment.
District officials said Deanna Flores, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, will serve as the interim superintendent for the rest of the year. She is going to be helped by the district’s assistant superintendent for business services, Craig Reynolds.
District officials announced the agreement Wednesday morning with a brief statement, which continued to deny any rumors that Tolcacher was placed on administrative leave or that he was being investigated for anything improper.
“The entire board wishes to acknowledge the dedication and professionalism which Dr. Tolcacher has provided the Prosser community over the last 25 years,” the statement said. “He has been a visionary leader and has worked hard to provide our children with quality educational experiences.”
Details about Tolcacher’s sudden departure after the Sept. 12 school board meeting have not been made public. And the decision was not mentioned in the official minutes from the meeting.
The next morning, Tolcacher did not attend a meeting with the construction manager for the new high school.
Most of the district’s current statement about the superintendent’s departure was put in the settlement agreement, along with the district denying the superintendent violated any policies or laws.
Board President Peggy Douglas signed the agreement that says the district will provide Tolcacher with a letter of recommendation, and both sides agreed not to say or write anything derogatory about each other.
The search for Tolcacher’s replacement to lead the 2,800-student district is continuing.
Northwest Leadership Associates was hired last year after Tolcacher announced his plans to retire in 2018. Dennis Ray, the firm’s president, previously said they are planning to start with community forums and focus groups, with the goal to begin advertising the position in November.