Scott County schools are in the market for a new leader after the district's board unanimously voted Thursday night to not renew Superintendent Patricia Putty's contract.
After the board's 5-0 vote, Putty announced that she intends to retire on June 30, 2016, when the contract ends. Putty succeeded Dallas Blankenship as Scott County superintendent in 2008.
Putty, 61, could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.
"I think the board just decided to maybe go in a different direction," Board Chairman Haley Conway said.
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"I commend her for her efforts and what she's done for her school district."
In July, the school board had commended Putty "for her strong performance in student achievement and curriculum development."
"The board is pleased with the success of Soctt County Schools and the success of its students under the leadership of Mrs. Putty," the statement concluded.
Conway would not elaborate on the board's action.
"I would love to tell you stuff. I'm walking through a minefield of glass right now, and I'm just trying to tiptoe," he said.
But he acknowledged that Putty had been a source of continuing controversy, particularly after the board approved a new contract in 2012 that boosted her pay more than 15 percent, from $127,260 to $147,000.
The raise came two weeks after board members adopted a tentative budget for 2012-13 providing no across-the-board raises for workers.
"She secured one of the largest raises in the state of Kentucky for a public employee at a time of a recession," Conway said. "It just seemed to be a lightning rod. I think that caused a lot of dysfunction as far as public relations."
Conway went to the Kentucky School Boards Association office in Frankfort Friday to get information on proceeding with a superintendent search. He said the board would soon name a search committee.
"We want to be pro-active," he said. "This allows us ample time to secure proper candidates for one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state."
The Scott County district adds 200 to 300 students each year. It has an enrollment of more than 8,900 students and an annual budget of about $60 million, Conway said.
The first phase a new high school is set to open in August 2017. That phase, which will cost $15.5 million, will be built on the campus of the district's Elkhorn Crossing career and technical school on Frankfort Road.
It will hold 700 students in grades 9 through 12 after the first phase of construction, but ultimately will have 1,500 students.
During Putty's time, the district had designed and built the Elkhorn Crossing and Lemons Mill Elementary schools.
In 2016, the district will offer full-day kindergarten, which had been a priority for Putty.