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Details of settlement agreement between education commissioner, state board made public

Then-Education Commissioner Rich Crandall on a visit this spring to the Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design.
Then-Education Commissioner Rich Crandall on a visit this spring to the Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design.
Eric Gorski

Colorado Education Commissioner Rich Crandall is to accept a lump-sum payment of $10,000 — a sliver of his $255,000 annual salary — under the terms of his resignation last week.

Not even five months into his tenure, Crandall agreed to resign “in lieu of termination” and cite personal reasons, according to a settlement agreement released Thursday by the state Department of Education in response to a public records request from Chalkbeat.

That language, suggested by the state Attorney General’s Office, is standard in separation agreements involving resignations and not specific to Crandall’s situation, said Bill Ray, an independent public relations specialist on contract with the education department.

State Board of Education Chairman Steve Durham said much the same. He declined to discuss Crandall’s resignation further. Asked whether the money the state agreed to pay to Crandall also was typical, Durham said: “I think that is typical in an amicable separation, yeah.”

Durham and a representative of the state controller’s office signed off on the agreement Wednesday.

Crandall said Thursday the decision for him to depart was mutual.

“It truly was,” he said.

Crandall would not go into any more detail. In an earlier statement, he cited family reasons and the demands of the job as factors in his resignation.

Other details in the nine-page settlement agreement:

  • Absent a signed release and waiver of liability, the state will provide Crandall a “neutral job reference” including only his job title, dates of employment and pay.
  • Crandall agreed not to sue the state.
  • As previously reported, Crandall’s last day in the office was last Thursday, and he will be on paid administrative leave until June 2.

Crandall said he, too, believes the language in the agreement is standard. He described the separation as amicable, and said discussions about the settlement lasted about 15 minutes.

“No one is interested in a kind of scorched earth separation,” Crandall said Thursday. “The board has a lot of hard work to do, a lot of heavy lifting. The good news is they have some of the best people in the department — fantastic people to work with.”

Nothing in the settlement agreement prevents any party from discussing what happened.

Katy Anthes, the Colorado Department of Education’s widely respected chief of staff, agreed last week to serve as interim commissioner. She has not said whether she is interested in the the full-time job.

Here, in full, is Crandall’s settlement agreement:

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