Superintendent Xavier Botana cites “district pay issues” as the main reason for his decision to leave the position.
PORTLAND, Maine — Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana announced Friday his intention to step down from his position in 2023.
Botana had previously announced in the fall his intention to step down from his post in June 2023 after serving seven years in that role, a press release from Portland Public Schools said. The superintendent cited “district pay issues” as the primary reason for his decision to leave the position.
“As you know, the past six weeks have been extremely difficult for Portland Public Schools,” Botana said in a resignation letter to the Portland Board of Education. “While I have worked tirelessly to find solutions, and we have reached an agreement with the [Portland Education] Association concerning [the] next steps to ensure all staff are paid correctly and on time, I believe it is in the best interest of the District that I step aside and allow the new management to close these matters.
The statement said, “Staff turnover, a complex payroll system and an Internet system outage in November” only added to the district’s struggle to pay its more than 1,500 employees in the fall.
However, the district’s payroll is reportedly still an ongoing issue.
“As a direct result of advocacy by the Portland Education Association and the Maine Education Association, the district engaged Spinglass Consulting to conduct a forensic analysis of its payroll system and make recommendations for improvement,” the statement explained. “The district is also working with the city and has enlisted a staff member from its payroll company MUNIS to assist and plans to outsource its payroll in the future.”
Botana plans to offer his resignation to the Portland Board of Education during an executive session at 4 p.m. Friday.
“The board is then expected to proceed to a public vote to accept the resignation, effective January 31, 2023, or the start date of an acting superintendent, whichever comes first,” the statement said.
According to the release, the board is already looking for a new superintendent and Botana will remain available for consultation during the transition until June 30, 2023.
“I am committed to assisting the board as it sees fit in the transition,” Botana said in Friday’s statement.
For more information on the virtual board meeting scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m., click here. Next, click on the “Board” tab at the top right, then on BoardDocs.
The statement said the council will not be open for discussion or public comment after the 4 p.m. meeting on Friday.