By George Slaughter
Katy Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Lance Hindt will contribute up to $25,000 for legal fees to be used in a potential defamation suit, according to an amendment approved by Katy school board trustees at their Thursday meeting.
Trustees approved hiring the Feldman and Feldman law firm at the meeting, in addition to approving the amendment to Hindt’s contract. Trustees took both these actions before Hindt announced his intention to resign January 1. He will continue as superintendent until then and is expected to help with the transition to a new superintendent.
Hindt will receive a two-year separation payment, estimated at $750,000, upon his resignation. His original contract provides for this payment.
Hindt’s resignation came after a two-month series of events and disclosures, both face-to-face and online, in which he, Katy ISD staff and luminaries, and members of his family were confronted and attacked.
Trustees have praised Hindt’s job performance, saying that he has met all the expectations placed upon him. He received praise in particular both for his leadership on the 2017 school bond issue and the district’s response to Hurricane Harvey.
Trustee Charles Griffin described the series of events that brought about Hindt’s decision to resign as a “sideshow” that has done nothing to help Katy students.
“This sideshow has cost this district money, it has cost us time, and the children are the ones that are paying the price,” Griffin said at the Thursday meeting.
District officials have expressed concern that it would be difficult for KISD to find a qualified successor for Hindt because of his success. Also, candidates won’t want to expose themselves, or their families, to the type of online attacks made against Hindt.
“My immediate family has to come first,” Hindt said in his statement Thursday. “My wife and my children, they need me. In light of an organized, relentless and dishonest smear campaign against me, I cannot remain as superintendent.”
Hindt, a Taylor High School graduate, joined the district as superintendent in August 2016. He had previously served as superintendent in the Allen Independent School District, near Dallas, and the Stafford Municipal School District.