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During the winter of 2009, controversy surrounded the school board’s potential purchase of almost 40 acres once belonging to the DUBUQUE PACKING COMPANY. Godinez was told the board had to act quickly on the $14 million purchase before someone else bought the property. Some district officials thought could be used as the site of a new school building.
Public reaction to the plan was swift. Focusing on the location of the property being sided by railroad tracks and a highway, subject to work as part of the BEE BRANCH storm water project, possible contamination, and the projected cost of $14 million led the public during board meetings and editorials to attack the idea. The board later chose to reconsider their plans and encourage more public input.
Near the end of the 2009-10 school year, Godinez implemented the most intensive budget cuts in recent history and saved the district about $7.4 million by eliminating more than 100 full-time positions and closing CENTRAL ALTERNATIVE HIGH SCHOOL. The board approved the reductions.
Controversy surfaced again when budget reduction plans for the 2011-12 school year included the moving of eight classes at Jones Hand-In-Hand Preschool into elementary school buildings.
In October 2010, Godinez asked the board to rescind its decision to pare eight facility options down to three options recommended by the administration that included the closure, renovation and addition of schools. She said it was obvious the community felt the board moved too quickly. The board rescinded its decision and began to seek public input in the process.
Godinez and varsity cheerleaders from STEPHEN HEMPSTEAD HIGH SCHOOL were at the center of controversy in January 2011 after Godinez denied a request for them to attend a national cheer leading competition. The request for the Hempstead Cheerleader trip did not meet Board Policy; Godinez followed Board Policy and denied the request. The Board subsequently voted to change the policy; this change allowed the Superintendent to approve the trip based on conditions agreed to by the coach that included increased oversight and completion of forms.
In 2012 the board learned a help-desk computer product that cost more than $130,000 from Dell never worked and three servers did not have antivirus protection installed on them. Godinez said she thought the help-desk worked and did not know why the servers did not have protection. The revelations came after the board unanimously approved in 2010 a $228,000 consulting contract with Dell. About $4 million has been spent on the district’s technology infrastructure.
The board decided to pause and re-examine the district's technology. It had been considering co-sourcing technology.
In May, 2012 a termination agreement was reached between Dr. Godinez and the District. The action came one month after the board voted to consider termination of her contract because of what it termed a loss of confidence in her ability to act effectively. As part of her settlement, the Board was not able to make any statements concerning her job performance. She received a payment of $95,000.
Benz, Theresa, Executive Coordinator, Dubuque Community School District