ALBANY, Ore. (KOIN) — Greater Albany Public Schools Board member Michael Thomson made an effort Wednesday night to save Superintendent Melissa Goff’s job after the July 14 vote to fire her without cause.
Thomson moved to remove an item — Goff’s contract — from this night’s agenda. But although it was appreciated by those in attendance, it failed.
The Albany board voted 3-1 last week to fire Goff, who is mystified by the move but appreciative of the support she received.
“Honestly, I can’t tell you why it happened because part of the beauty and the curse of a no cause clause in a contract is that the board doesn’t need to tell me or anybody else why they are deciding to activate that section of a contract,” Goff told KOIN 6 News.
People at the July 14 board meeting weren’t happy with the decision. One parent who spoke with KOIN 6 News believes the 3 new board members decided to fire her based on their personal political beliefs.
“This is a problem that has been happening across the country, where there has been a move for more conservative people to take over school boards,” the parent said.
In last week’s meeting, the board majority decided the district will buy out her contract. Thomson said that is fiscally irresponsible.
“This action will cost the district north more than, I’m guessing, more than $200,000 in paying one year’s salary and benefits,” Thomson said. “The total cost is going to be much higher.”
Students showed their love and support for Goff with posters and chalk messages. KOIN 6 News learned every elementary school principal in the district emailed the board to express their appreciation for Goff.
KOIN 6 News called every board member but was only able to get through to the chair, who referred all answers to their attorney representing them in this matter.
Another board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday and it’s unclear what actions will be taken.
Goff is taking all of this in stride.
She said the outpouring of support “was amazing. Just sharing appreciation and it was incredibly moving. I feel like I’ve had the privilege of people letting me know before I’ve left some place how much they value me in a very important and moving way.”