NILES - Christopher Doutt said he wasn't surprised when city schools Superintendent Mark Robinson handed in his resignation on Thursday.
"He has an opportunity to move on, and that's what he's doing," said Doutt, a Niles School Board of Education member.
Doutt said he expects the school board to hold a special meeting next week to formally accept Robinson's resignation, and to release him from his contract.
In his emailed letter to the school board, Robinson states that he will be leaving the Niles district Oct. 12 to take a position with the Ohio Department of Education. He was just more than a year into his three-year contract with Niles.
"Recently, I was offered an opportunity to work with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) as a RttT Student Growth and Alignment Specialist," the email states. "The specialist's position covers northeast Ohio and is one of six regional positions in the State. Niles City Schools is one of the districts in the NE region, so I'm confident that we will continue to work together in a new way."
It remains unclear who will act as superintendent in the interim. Doutt said the board intends to name someone to help the district finish out the school year.
Robinson, who began work on Aug. 1, 2011, was hired at $110,600 a year. His contract also allowed for a 7.5 percent bonus and another 1 percent increase for working nonworking hours.
His predecessor, Rocco Adduci, earned $91,000 in the final year of his contract. Adduci was placed on paid administrative leave about a month before his contract expired days after he spoke out against the lucrative contract awarded to his Robinson.
The move was made after a raucous board meeting in which members of the public and school employees questioned the new superintendent's salary and benefits. At the time board members said Robinson's pay was comparable to salaries of other superintendents in similar school districts.
Prior to coming to Niles, Robinson had been superintendent in Ashland since 2008. Doutt said the board has to discuss how to proceed with replacing Robinson.
"This is the biggest decision as a school board we are elected to make," Doutt said.
"I think that we, as a board, need to have patience and we need to take our time and find the right person," he said. "We need someone who will make the commitment to stay with us, who has a vested interest in the school district and the area, someone who lives in the area. I think we need to try to get someone as local as we can get."
Robinson did not relocate to Niles but commuted from Broadview.
Doutt, who was not on the board that hired Robinson, said he believes the outgoing superintendent will be available to assist with the transition.
"I have nothing against him at all and I have nothing negative to say about him personally," he said. "People move on. Now we need to regroup and make the decisions we feel our in the best interested of our school district."