The interim superintendent in Kennebunk-based Regional School Unit 21 is stepping down following the school board’s admission that it mishandled the search process that led to her hire.

Maryann Perry Regional School Unit 21

On Thursday, the RSU 21 Board of Directors accepted Maryann Perry’s resignation, effective Friday, according to a news release.

Perry will be paid $8,878 for time worked this month and provided severance of $13,000 for a total of $21,878.

Her resignation comes a day after school board Chairwoman MaryBeth Luce announced her resignation from the board because of the controversy.

The board failed to conduct an internet search on Perry, which would have produced news articles about allegations of financial mismanagement in the school district she led in Massachusetts. Perry was accused of violating state law by withholding nearly $600,000 in out-of-district special education tuition bills in 2018 and then paying them with funds from the 2019 budget.

On Thursday board members voted 8-0 to appoint Assistant Superintendent Phillip Potenziano as interim superintendent for the rest of the school year.

“Moving forward, the Board is committed to a timely and thorough review of the superintendent hiring process,” the release said. “The Board will document an updated process and share it with the public before starting the search process for a permanent superintendent for the 2020- 2021 school year.”

Perry’s resignation was the latest disruption in a district that has been roiled by controversy this year. The school board is awaiting the results of an outside investigation into its response to a former teacher’s complaint that the district mishandled her reports of racist incidents in her classroom. The teacher’s complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission led to a $50,000 settlement with the district.

RSU 21 includes the towns of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel.

 

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