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Greater Albany School District Executive Director of Operations Resigns

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Jen Wright
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The Greater Albany Public School District’s executive director of  operations resigned last week. He posted a letter on social media explaining his decision.

Russell Buttram has been with GAPS since 2016, and said that his resignation is not about the board firing former superintendent Melissa Goff last month, but concerns the board’s other decisions.

“This really isn’t about politics; this is about ethics, and about the use of taxpayer funds,” Buttram said.

When the GAPS board fired Goff, they bought out the remainder of her contract. 

In the facebook post, Buttram accused school board member Roger Nyquist of influencing the hiring of Rich Sipe as the GAPS chief of staff while interim superintendent Rob Saxton was unavailable. Sipe’s position is new, and is meant to supplement Saxton’s absence during August, according to Buttram.

Saxton was hired during the GAPS board meeting on July 26, and the board knew Saxton would not be available for most of August.

“This board selected a chief of staff, which is a position that has never existed in Greater Albany Public Schools before, and they hired it non-competitively, to a friend of a local politician,” Buttram said. “The work that they’re having this person do is what would normally be done by the assistant superintendent, or the superintendent.”

Buttram also recommended school board chair Eric Aguinaga be removed from his position, citing unprofessionalism.

“We’ve had these rapid, last-minute public meetings,” Buttram said. “Trying to set up the meetings and just get basic functions of government happening with him has been incredibly difficult.”

Buttram also said the board is moving fast to avoid public comment and input, which goes against what he believes the GAPS board should be doing.

“They campaigned on transparency, and they are being as opaque as they possibly can,” Buttram said.

GAPS board meeting videos and agendas can be accessed on their website.

 

Jen is an intern for KLCC, through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. This is her first radio news job. She is Oregon-born and raised and loves writing, reading and recording. Her favorite things to write about are community and social justice issues, LGBTQIA+ news and history, and cultural deep-dives.
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