Board chief: Facts show buyout was in best interests of COD
There has been much attention focused on the College of DuPage Board of Trustees' recent vote to approve a retirement buyout of President Robert Breuder's remaining contract.
Allow me to provide some additional information.
Dr. Breuder has been president of the College of DuPage for six years. The amazing outcomes achieved under his leadership are undeniable: roughly 70 new academic degrees and certificates; enrollment increases at a time of regional and national decline; a $550 million overhaul of our teaching and learning facilities; and a significantly improved financial position achieved during the worst economy since the Great Depression.
Using any standard of measure, the College of DuPage is now one of the preeminent community colleges in the nation. Further, a recent scientific survey concludes that our residents hold the College of DuPage in the highest regard.
The college had a contractual relationship with Dr. Breuder through June 30, 2019.
That said, there were several members of the board who felt they wanted a change in leadership.
Dr. Breuder was made aware of those feelings and offered to retire, pending our ability to reach an exit agreement.
After months of discussion, the board and president reached a mutual agreement.
Had he chosen to remain president through the end of his contractual period, June 30, 2019, the cost to the college would have been almost $2 million, more than twice what was ultimately agreed upon on Jan. 22, 2015.
Discussions were amicable throughout this process and resulted in an outcome both the trustees and the president felt to be in the best interest of the college and the community.
There have been critics who felt the board should not have approved this agreement, perhaps believing that we should have risked a protracted legal dispute that would have most certainly cost the taxpayers a larger sum.
However, after several months of careful consideration, six out of seven trustees, on two separate occasions, felt it was wisest to reach an agreement. It will allow us to move forward in the best possible way and the college will continue to benefit from the exemplary stewardship and seasoned leadership of Dr. Breuder while we begin the search for his successor.
In future months, we will share more details about the national search process. Between now and March 31, 2016, the president's retirement date, Dr. Breuder will continue to provide the visionary leadership that has greatly benefitted College of DuPage and our community over the past six years.
We look forward to the next chapter for College of DuPage.
• Erin Birt is chairman of the Board of Trustees for College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn.