Posted at: 07/11/2013 7:14 PM
Updated at: 07/11/2013 7:42 PM
By: Michelle Knoll

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St. Cloud Schools Pay Principal $271K in Settlement

Paula Foley

Photo courtesy of the St. Cloud School District.

A St. Cloud elementary school principal - accused of creating an "atmosphere of fear and intimidation" - will receive a settlement worth as much as $271,497.

The St. Cloud school board this week approved the agreement with Paula Foley.

Foley, the principal of Westwood Elementary, was placed on paid administrative leave in April after complaints about her leadership. In her evaluation summary, the district says Foley is hard working and passionate about children, but accused her of "(misrepresenting) the facts about school or district issues, in order to create support for outcomes that she favors."

The summary also accused her of creating division and distrust among staff members by "disparaging staff to other members of the staff, or to parents."

Foley has been with the district 28 years. She served as principal in various schools for 19 of those years.

Under the settlement, she will be placed on a two-year paid leave of absence. During that time, Foley will receive $208,760 in wages and more than $62,000 in health, dental, life and long-term disability. At the end of the two years, the two parties agreed to part ways.

Foley waived $72,310 in post-retirement health care contributions and other fees under the agreement. The district says the settlement, which was approved unanimously by the school board, prevents expensive legal costs that could have added up had it not been settled.

If Foley is employed as a school administrator elsewhere during that time, the payments would end unless the position pays less than her current salary. In that case, the district would have to pay her the difference under the terms of the agreement.