THIS SEPARATION AGREEMENT (“the Agreement) is made this 15th day of February of 2016, by and between the Board of Education of Van Buren Public Schools, referred to as the “School District,” and Michael L. Van Tassel, referred to as the “Employee.”
In consideration of the mutual covenants hereinafter set forth, and to resolve any and all controversies arising out of Employee’s employment with the School District, the parties hereto agree as follows:
1. By execution of this Agreement, the Employee hereby voluntarily and irrevocably resigns from employment in the School District effective upon approval of the Board and execution of this Agreement, and the School District acknowledges receipt of same, and by its execution of this Agreement accepts the resignation. Employee shall announce his resignation at the February 22, 2016 District Board Meeting at which time the Board will act to accept this Agreement. Commencing February 23, 2016, Employee shall be a consultant to the interim superintendent on an as-needed basis, as determined by the interim superintendent. Location of assignment shall generally be off District property unless mutually determined by the interim superintendent and Employee that a meeting or document review is needed in the District. Employee agrees in good faith to cooperate on any and all reasonable interim superintendent consulting assignments. The School District agrees that consulting assignments shall be limited to nor more than ten (10) hours per week. Consulting responsibilities shall continue through January 31, 2017.
2. By submitting his resignation, Employee waives whatever right he may have to future employment with the School District and agrees he will not apply for future employment, in any capacity, including substituting or consulting through a third party, within the School District.
Further, Employee acknowledges that he has consulted with his representatives of his own choosing, including the Association and legal counsel, and has been advised of his rights, including his rights under any applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement, his contract of employment, Michigan School Code and the Teachers’ Tenure Act, and that by submitting his resignation he is waiving his right to procedural protections and remedies provided to him by any Agreement and statutes and specifically waives and foregoes the rights, privileges and protections provided.
3. Further, the School District, in return for the Employee’s resignation and other provisions herein, shall pay the Employee his salary and benefits through June 30, 2016, in accordance with his Contract terms which currently run through June 30, 2018, minus legally required deductions and withholdings, and shall pay the Employee a lump sum gross amount not to exceed Two Hundred Ten Thousands ($210,000.00) Dollars, minus legally required deductions and withholdings, in July 2016. In consideration of Employee’s consultation to the District shall continued through January 31, 2017 health insurance only and all other benefits cease should the Board approve this Agreement, and at the time of the lump sum payment referenced in this paragraph. Any and all unused accrued leave provision, including vacation time and sick time, under the Employee’s current Contract terms or District policies/practices shall be used prior to June 30, 2016, and shall not be paid to Employee as part of the compromise contained herein. Further, Employee may secure, at his initiation, group insurance coverage available under COBRA by timely completing the necessary documents for implementation on or before January 31, 2017.
4. It is specifically understood and agreed that this Agreement represents a compromise on the part of both parties and that the intent of the parties in entering into this Agreement is to avoid further proceedings, litigation or administrative action. The execution of this Agreement by the parties does not represent, nor shall be construed as, an admission of any nature whatsoever regarding any and all matters arising out of the Employee’s employment with the School District. It shall not constitute a practice or precedent for future dealings between parties.
5. In consideration of the mutual understandings, agreements, and releases given herein, the Employee does hereby remise, release, and forever discharge the School District, its Board of Education and each member thereof and its Superintendent, administrators, employees, and agents, present and future, of and from any and all causes of action, suits, debts, covenants, agreements, judgments, damages, claims and demands whatsoever in law or equity, known or unknown, which he has or may have against the School District, arising out of or in any way related, directly or indirectly, to his employment and or/the termination of that employment through February 22, 2016. This release includes, but is not limited to, claims of discrimination or harassment based on any legally protected characteristic or preference; breach of implied or express contract, including the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; wrongful discharge; constructive discharge; violation of any Released Parties’ policy, practice or procedure; intentional interference with contractual relations or prospective economic advantage; negligent or intentional misrepresentation; negligence; fraud; estoppel or reliance; defamation, slander of libel; negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress; violation of public policy; invasion of privacy; any claim for damages under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, the Michigan Persons With Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Executive Retirement income Security Act (ERISA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Michigan Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), Federal Whistleblower Protection Acct, any other claim or damages for violation of any other federal, state or local statute; and any and all claims for any and all damages, including, but not limited to employee benefits, bonuses, monetary damages, deferred compensation, any other compensation and claims for attorney fees and costs.
Employee specifically acknowledges that he is aware of his rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990, and that he hereby releases and forever discharges the School District as well as its directors, trustees, officers, agents, employees, servants, successors, subsidiaries, and assigns from any and all rights, claims, suits, damages, and liability of any sort arising on or before the date of this Agreement for age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990.
6. In accordance with the Federal Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-433), Employee acknowledges that he has read this Agreement completely, and following consultation with his attorney, chooses to waive the twenty-one (21) day revocation period as evidenced by the signing of this Agreement.
7. Any and all waivers and release of claims contained in this agreement are material provisions for the consideration Employee is receiving and the parties agree that any breach by Employee of Paragraph 5 would cause substantial damage to the District, but that proof of the precise amount would be difficult to ascertain. In the event of any breach by Employee of Paragraph s5, Employee hereby agrees to pay as liquidated damages to the District an amount equal to his salary and benefits through June 30, 2016, plus the lump sum amount stated in Paragraph 3, plus the value of health insurance from July 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. The parties agree that this amount of liquidated damages is a reasonable estimate of the substantial damage to the District in the event of a breach by Employee.
8. Employee understands that he may revoke this Agreement for a period of seven (7) calendar days following his execution of this Agreement. The Agreement is not effective until this revocation period has expired. Employee understands that any revocation, to be effective, must be in writing and hand-delivered within seven (7) days of execution of this Agreement to the Board President.
9. For and in consideration of the release heretofore provided, the waiver of common law, constitutional contractual and statutory right and for good and valuable consideration, the School District hereby releases the Employee from any and all claims, causes of action, damages, liability of every type and description and of whatever nature related to or arising from Employee’s employment with Van Buren Public Schools that are protected under the School District’s liability coverage for covered acts arising during the term of his employment with the School District, except as otherwise provided herein, in which the School District is or may be determined to be entitled. Further, it is understood and agreed that the terms and conditions of this Agreement represent a full and complete disposition and satisfaction of the Employee’s legal, employment, contractual and statutory obligations to the School District.
10. Employee understands and agrees that this is a full and final settlement of any and all issues relating to his employment by the School District, and that other than as set forth in this Agreement, no other payment or consideration of any kind shall be forthcoming to Employee from the School District in connection with such employment.
11. Employee understands and agrees that the terms of this Agreement are contractual and not a mere recital, and that there are no agreements, understandings, or representations made by the School District or its representatives except as expressly stated in this document. Employee further understands and agrees that to be effective, any modifications to this Agreement must be made in writing and signed by him and the Board.
12. Employee acknowledges and agrees that he has been and is hereby advised in writing to consult with an attorney prior to executing this Agreement.
13. Employee acknowledges that he has read this Agreement before signing it, that he fully understands its terms, content and effect, and that he has relied fully and completely on his own judgment and/or upon the services of his own attorney in executing this Agreement. Employee further acknowledges and agrees that his execution of this Agreement is fully voluntary.
14. Each party agrees that he or it will take no action (including but not limited to, an appeal or initiation of a separate lawsuit), which seeks to challenge any provision of this Agreement. Nevertheless, it is explicitly understood and agreed by the parties that neither party waives the right to enforce the terms of this Agreement against the other party.
15. In the event that any of the provisions of this Agreement shall be held invalid or unenforceable by reason of any final judgment or administrative ruling, or by reason of any legislation now existing or hereinafter enacted, such invalidity or unenforceability shall have no effect on the remaining provisions of this Agreement.
16. This is a final and entire Agreement between the parties, consisting of seven (7) pages, solving any and all issues relating to Employee’s employment with the School District, and other than as set forth in this Agreement, no other payment or consideration of any kind shall be forthcoming to Employee from the school District in connection with such employment. It supersedes any and all oral discussions or promises and may not be modified except in writing and signed by all parties hereto.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, thee parties have set their hands this 15th day of February, 2016.
Van Buren Public Schools
Brent Mikulski, Board President
(This line was unsigned in the document presented to the board on Feb. 22.)
Michael L. Van Tassel
(This line was signed on Feb. 15)
An accompanying chart showed the amount Van Tassel had coming ($457,484), the amount they were paying him ($290,528) and savings to the district ($166,956).