The La Vernia Independent School District board of trustees has approved Superintendent Tom Harvey’s retirement agreement.
The matter was discussed during a special meeting held Oct. 16, but was not finalized until another special called meeting Sunday, Oct. 20.
Trustees Kimi Kravitz, David Watson, Janette Chall, Janice Gimbel, and Susan Reinhard, along with board President Cody Miller, approved Harvey’s retirement 6-1, with James Barnett casting the dissenting vote. Harvey was not in attendance.
The vote followed a brief public hearing on the retirement; no one addressed the board. Miller said after the meeting the public hearing was listed pursuant to action during the last legislative session. School districts must offer public hearings when an employee or former employee will be paid beyond what is in their contract.
Miller said Harvey’s retirement will be effective Dec. 31, 2013, with a six-month payout of the contract. The $85,229 will come from the district’s general fund, Miller said.
Also on the agenda was action regarding an interim superintendent and a search process for a new superintendent. The board took no action on either item, however.
The school board, in a statement released Oct. 21, “... extends its best wishes to Dr. Harvey in his future endeavors. On its part, the board will soon begin its search for a new superintendent, and anticipates that the process will not disrupt the district’s operations.”
Harvey earned his bachelor’s degree in music from Lamar University in 1977, continuing with a master’s degree from McNeese State University in Louisiana in 1982, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1989. He came to La Vernia from Sabine Pass, where he had been superintendent for six years, after stints as a band director and principal in several school districts. He and his wife have three grown children and two grandchildren.
Under Harvey’s leadership, the La Vernia ISD successfully passed bonds for construction. Among the work has been the renovation of the football stadium, new softball and baseball fields, a new auditorium/gym, renovations to several campuses, a new operations facility, and construction of the intermediate school.
His time in La Vernia has included both triumphs and controversies for the district. These have included controversial events, such as the indictment of a former district administrator for misapplication of funds, as well as improvements in standardized test scores and student excellence in a number of areas.
From Dr. Harvey and the school board
A joint statement issued by Dr. Tom Harvey and the La Vernia ISD board of trustees Oct. 21 states, in part, “... On behalf of the entire District, the Board of Trustees expresses its sincere appreciation to Dr. Harvey for his efforts while serving as Superintendent of this great school district and its wonderful students, parents and administrators, and for the many achievements and accomplishments of the entire District team during Dr. Harvey’s tenure as Superintendent.”
“Dr. Harvey thanks the present and past Board of Trustees for providing him with the opportunity to serve in the La Vernia Independent School District. ‘A school district is measured by the commitment of the Board, staff and community to its children and their achievement. This District is indeed so committed.’ Dr. Harvey would like to express his heartfelt appreciation to the staff and community for their support of the District’s programs and services during his term as Superintendent.”