Two LSR7 Board members post voice of dissent

In a rare move, two members of the Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education have issued a release voicing their dissent in the Board’s decision to part ways with former superintendent Dr. Dennis Carpenter.

Board members Ryan Murdock and Jacqueline Clark issued the statement, including their reasons for voting against the negotiated split in posts to social media on Saturday. The District announced the split on Saturday.

The Statement reads as follows:

“In the spirit of transparency and openness as elected officials, we want to offer the rationale for our votes. I join my colleague, Jacqueline Clark, in opposition to the publicly announced superintendent separation agreement because it was completely avoidable. 

Cost to the District

The result of this agreement for LSR7 students and teachers is that they are losing $750,000 that could be used in our classrooms. We note that our district has agreed to pay out $1.2 million since 2016, which is about $37,500 per building. The decision is a result of leaders who were unwilling to even try to work or communicate with the superintendent and have not met with him since Jan. 10 in closed session on his goals. This decision also ignores a successful Comprehensive Facilities Master Planning process and its Phase II (now underway), improved student test scores, the Innovation
Track’s creation and unprecedented community engagement during his two-year tenure.

Board Superintendent Relationship

Our board of education failed to establish an appropriate
superintendent-board relationship. The board worked with the Missouri School Board Association in June to establish board priorities and measurements for Dr. Carpenter’s 2019 performance review, but no attempt was even made to work with him towards these goals. Despite success in his measurable work, the board frequently challenged his
professional judgement in ways MSBA had coached us to avoid according to best practices in the superintendent-board relationship.

Moving Forward

Jackie and I are committed to work on behalf of all LSR7 students as we begin a national superintendent search because we want to avoid LSR7 becoming the next high churn district for superintendents in the metro area. We both support a transparent selection process that will engage finalists with the community before the board makes its selection, and we support keeping the community updated throughout the process. An ideal candidate that we can support to lead LSR7 will be an innovative, strategic thinking superintendent with strong leadership and communication skills.

We thank Dr. Carpenter for his service to our district and will do our best in continuing to work with fellow board members
toward an equitable education for all students in the district.
While we disagree, we accept the decision of the majority of the board.

Jackie and I also are committed to leading healing for LSR7 kids and teachers. And as always we will continue to communicate with the community. We welcome others who are committed to do the same.


Ryan Murdock and Jacqueline Clark”

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Read commentary on the resignation from Link 2 Lee’s Summit publisher Nick Parker and guest columnist John Beaudoin.