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2/15/2012 12:54:00 PM
Dan Brown in crosshairs at Camp Verde Schools
CVUSD Superintendent Dan Brown and board member Helen Freeman have had a strained relationship.
CVUSD Superintendent Dan Brown and board member Helen Freeman have had a strained relationship.

Raquel Hendrickson
Bugle Managing Editor

CAMP VERDE - At least two members of the Camp Verde Unified School District Governing Board are unhappy enough with the superintendent to rethink renewing his contract.

That become clear during discussions of the evaluation process and Dan Brown's contract Tuesday night. The decision on the contract was ultimately tabled until a staff survey can be conducted, but the intent of some of the board members was moved into the open.

The turn came as Judy Gilbert and Helen Freeman voiced disagreement with several items, including a raise, in a proposed one-year contract for Brown for 2012-13. Gilbert said his recent evaluation did not warrant a raise, and he should no longer need a mentor. She also said the district and not Brown should be writing up the contract.

"No one in the district is getting a 7.6 percent raise," Freeman pointed out.

She also cited unnamed sources who were disappointed with Brown and/or the contract, and even used the phrase "gross misuse of public funds." Freeman said the district needed to redefine a work day before including 20 more personal days in the contract.

But the discussion went off the contract and moved into more generalities about Brown's performance as superintendent.

"What has hurt us is a lack of experience," Freeman said. She referred to a failure to follow up on the details and suggested CVUSD's foundation was unsound.

Pressed by Board President Tim Roth to candidly state that it was her opinion that Brown was not the right person for the job, Freeman agreed with that assessment.

Though board member Trent Hackett suggested that the board direct questions about the contract to Brown himself, no one did so.

Brown volunteered his own side of the matter, saying the response he received from around the district conflicted with Freeman's information.

"I don't think I was asking for more than the average rate," he said of the salary dispute. He added that he did not think it was fair to add 20 days to the contract without compensation. He said he has not used a mentor this year and could do without it in the contract.

Brown said feedback he has received from around the district has pointed at improved leadership.

"There is nothing that tells me what Helen says," he said.

Roth and board member Rick Anderson, who moved for the one-year contract, have long been Brown supporters. Freeman and Gilbert had a controversial squabble with Brown a year ago over communication and lack of trust. Hackett has been listening to both sides without publicly expressing his stand.

When it became apparent that Brown's job was on the line, the conversation began to echo, almost verbatim, the 2009 meeting that brought about the departure of Brown's predecessor, Jeff Van Handel. Brown said his evaluation by the board - satisfactory to good - did not indicate that the board was unhappy with him. He told the board that if they were not going to renew his contract he needed to know as soon as possible because he has financial obligations to meet.

The district will distribute opinion surveys to staff members in the next two weeks to get feedback in time for a March meeting, when the contract renewal will be discussed again.

Taylor Waste
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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Article comment by: Caring Student

Letting Mr. Brown go would be the biggest mistake ever. Mr. Brown was the principal that promoted my 8th grade class up to high school then was promoted up to the superintendent. In my opinion having Mr. Brown as the superintendent has been the best things for the CVUSD. He has always welcomed parents and students with a warm smile and has been willing to listen to everyone. If Mr. Brown is not is his office he can normally be found of one of the campuses in the CVUSD. Mr. Brown is also very supportive of what the students want to do as a career choice. Instead of just listening to the school board and what they want they really should go to the public that have kids in the school district to seek what they want.

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Article comment by: It Really Doesn't Matter

Unfortunately, we can no longer KEEP a good superintendent in the Camp Verde School District. Not since the days of Phil England have we stuck by a Superintendent. After a few years somebody starts complaining and soon the witch hunt begins. Either we pay them too much, hire them despite their coming from failing school districts or hire them with no experience and then complain about that very fact. It's an embarrassment to our community that we are continually complaining about our Town Council or our School Board / Superintendent.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: L. Ayala

Helen Freeman deserves a medal of honor! She is looking out for the best interests of the school district, and not jumping on the good ol' boy bandwagon. Mr. Brown's conviviality is not in question. He's great at hand-shaking and rah-rah speeches, but that doesn't make for a good superintendent. Why are people not incensed at the money Mr. Brown is wasting, remodeling the old Yavapai College building to suit his fancy, and moving the district office over there, citing some bogus claim of needing more privacy. Total bull! He could have just put in some sound-proofing and shut his door. And, as a side note, this is after the current district office has been remodeled at least twice in the last few years! As a taxpaying citizen of Camp Verde, I am outraged. He needs to go away. Now.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: Barry Spendsalot

We know why Mr. Brown wants more money next year. Retirement is coming soon and he wants pad that check. How much is fair for operating a school district Camp Verde's size.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: Bless you Stephen

You were one of the first to be thrown off the bus, and not just thrown but run over. You know what it feels like to not be able to state your opinion without it being held against you. Hope all is well with you and your family and your wounds from the tire tracks have healed.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: Virginia Valanzola

Dan Brown is no friend of the CVUSD system. My opinion, and that of many, is his desire to make a name for himself. I am one of the many who have suffered due to his machinations. His staff would love a 7.5% raise for compensation for the extra work load added to an already inadequate day.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: staff opinion surveys confidential

There is a reason why people submit comments without names. They either don't belong to the right church, they are afraid to lose thier jobs or both. There is an aweful not of pretence of open communication at the school, but the truth is, if you have a contrary opinion, or a contrary faith, you don't open your mouth.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: 7.6% Raise? for what

A 7.6% raise? Seriously? For what? Shaking hands and kissing babies? He should write his name in on the GOP or Democratic ballot. Doesnít matter, itís all PR. They are in it for themselves and so is he. The rest of us are scraping by. As for Mrs. Freeman, thank you for listening to those who you volunteer to represent.

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2012
Article comment by: Disappointed in Dan

For those of you who understand that Mr. Brown makes a good impression and sometimes a good second impression, most Politianís do. He is very good at shaking hands and padding his own pockets. He is very good at saying one thing, quoting a good line, pretending to listen, (as you say) hearing both sides, but then doing nothing or doing the contrary of what he says he will do. I too had students in the district. Mine are no longer there. I heard a lot of promises, but never got solutions.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Misty Cloud

Reading comments from individuals who view from the "outside" looking in, are unrealistic comments with no substance. I'm seasoned and have worked many years in the private and public sector. When you have a member of the Board who is actually taking an active interest and concern regarding the welfare of the students, the district and the budget, why aren't people listening? She's holding administrators accountable and she's asking all the right questions. Why shouldn't they all be held responsible and accountable for their actions? Where did that 90 day letter come from and why? Aren't the administrators making the final decisions? The support staff are held accountable for their job performances. With work agreements for support staff, they can be dismissed without cause at any time. Why not ask a highly paid superintendent or administrator to explain their job performance and the status of the current budget? I sure would like a 7.5% COLA.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Shirley Jenkins

Here we go again! Another attack on one of our own.....I have known and dealt with Dan Brown for the past 8 years.....as the Principal of the Middle School and as Superintendent of our school district. He has ALWAYS been fair with my child and he ALWAYS listens to BOTH sides....as Superintendent I feel he has done a GREAT job....he is a FAIR person and I think he does not deserve what is happening to him.....it seems to me that we need a NEW school board.....they NEVER do what they are supposed to do....it seems all they do is go on a "witch hunt".....they get involved with things they have NO right to do...they don't let the people in "authority" do their jobs....I am NOT ashamed to put my name in this article....I think the people who don't like Mr. Brown should try to do his job and see what it is like before you CONDEMN this nice man....he is doing a FINE job...LEAVE HIM ALONE!!

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: Mother of Five Attending CVUSD

Mr. Brown Is great he is very personable with the students which is important My children Love him and have grown along side his employment from principal to superintendent I think it would be a mistake to not renew his contract . I support Dan Brown!!!

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
Article comment by: ms riff

The sad part of this is that he thinks he deserves this raise! How many people in this town don't even get enough hours to qualify for benefits and he thinks he is being fair! What a crock! Mr. Brown how bout you come work my job for a few months( and i work for retail not the district )so you can learn to appreciate a 50Ę raise every year. And that's if you do good enough to EARN IT! they are right you need to get off the bus here real soon. Like the next stop.

Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Article comment by: Diana Luton

For those of you attacking Mr. Brown, how many of you have actually scheduled a meeting to tallk with him? I would guess not a single one of you. I have had several occasions to meet with Mr.Brown, and have been more than impressed with both is professionalism, and his dedication, to the students and staff of the Camp Verde School district. Not renewing his contract would be a huge mistake on the board's part. I know for a fact that Mr. Brown has stopped several law suits from being filed against the school district. If you want the school district to come apart at the seams don't renew Mr. Browns contract, but I promise it will be a huge loss for Camp Verde.
I think it is perfectly reasonable if the board does not plan on renewing his contract that they at least have the common courtsey to let Mr.Brown know so that he can find other employment to support his family.

A Dan Brown Fan all the way

Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Article comment by: Kaitlyn Luton

As a student at the camp verde School district i can say yes we do have our flaws but find me a school in america that doesn't . Mr. Brown always has a smile on his face and willing to help with any problem you or your child face with the district He is a warm heart who is simply looking out for our best interest and making sure we reach our full potential . I am proud to call him my superintendent and look forward to see the changes as he continues to make great decisions that make school that much better.

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