Top York school leader resigns after board refused to renew contract

York schools Superintendent Vernon Prosser
York schools Superintendent Vernon Prosser Contributed photo

York school Superintendent Vernon Prosser said he resigned after the school board voted not to renew his contract.

Prosser, who has served as superintendent for the York school district for nine years, said his last day is June 30.

"This decision comes after much thought and prayer and follows a 4-2 vote of the Board of Trustees on January 23 indicating a desire for change in leadership," Prosser wrote in a prepared statement to York school board members, staff and faculty.

A motion not to renew Prosser's contract was made by board member Maria Duncan, who retired in 2015 after working as the school district's personnel director under Prosser. Duncan made the motion during the the board's Jan. 23 work session, according to the approved minutes from that session.

Duncan and board members Betty Johnson, Austin Dawkins and Diane Howell, a retired York Comprehensive High School principal, who also worked under Prosser's leadership, voted in favor of the motion.

Board members Chris Stephenson and Christopher Revels were opposed.

Board members could not immediately be reached for comment.

The motion came after the board met in executive session on Jan. 23 to discuss Prosser's evaluation as superintendent by the school board. School board members are responsible for hiring, evaluating and firing superintendents.

Prosser's existing contract had two years remaining. Prosser's annual salary is $140,454 with a $9,000 in-district travel allowance, according to the school district.

Prosser wrote in his resignation letter to the school board that he felt it was important for the district to begin to find a new leader.

“…this decision was an indication to me that the majority of this body is ready for a change in leadership,” Prosser wrote. “I am aware that I could stay for two more years, but I feel that it is best for you to begin the transitioning process.”

The York school board accepted Prosser’s resignation during the March 13 board meeting.

Prosser plans to move to Seneca with his wife Terri and spend time with his family, he wrote in a statement.

“I am excited about transitioning to other opportunities to further support public education, but will always have fond memories of walking hallways and visiting classrooms in the district, speaking with you as you worked to make a difference in the lives of your students,” Prosser wrote.

During Prosser’s tenure, he said the district added nine full-day 4-year-old kindergarten classes, earned $7.9 million in grants and additional funding to support programs for students and expanded its partnership with York Technical College to allow students to earn college credit while they are in high school.

During the same time, the district's high school graduation improvement rate increased from 82 percent to 92 percent in a district with a 75 percent poverty rate, according to the district.

“The efforts of all teachers, administrators, and staff members have contributed to the increase in high school graduation rate,” Prosser wrote. “As I have said many times before, our graduation rate is directly related to your efforts from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade and each of you should be proud of this accomplishment. Our students are indeed realizing their potential and their success is inspiring to us all.”

Prosser also led the district during the opening of York Comprehensive High School in 2010 and the Floyd D. Johnson Technology Center. He said the district has also increased access to technology for high poverty students.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my nine years in York School District One," Prosser wrote. "This community strongly supports public education, and I am proud of the accomplishments the district achieved during my time here."

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Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082