Education A National Roundup

Portland, Ore., Schools Must Pay $620,000 for Firing Employee

By John Gehring — September 07, 2005 1 min read

The Portland, Ore., public schools must pay a former employee $620,000 for wrongful termination and harm to his reputation, according to an arbitrator’s decision.

Steve Goldschmidt, a former director of human resources in the 53,000-student district, was fired in February by Superintendent Vicki Phillips for “gross neglect of duty,” a district spokeswoman said.

The district refused to pay the $357,000 in severance money outlined in a contract he negotiated under a former superintendent and a previous school board.

But last month, an arbitrator found the district had no just cause in terminating Mr. Goldschmidt, who had received a positive evaluation two months before he was fired. Mr. Goldschmidt is a brother of former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt.

Bobbie Regan and David Wynde, the co-chairmen of the Portland board of education, issued a joint statement on Aug. 23 supporting the superintendent’s decision.

Money paid to Mr. Goldschmidt, they noted, “is covered by district insurance and will not require the school district to divert any funds from the classroom or change our budget for next year.”