ICSD’s Brown likely to exit in ‘28

by Robert Lynch, June 6, 2024

Though it remained unpublicized as of midday Thursday, Dr. Luvelle Brown, the Ithaca City School District’s sometimes-controversial Superintendent of Schools, will likely step down from that position when his current contract with the District expires in 2028—if not before.

School Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown (at a recent meeting)

Dr. Brown “is not seeking an extension or amendment to his current contract,” a District official stated to online publication 14850 Today on Tuesday, June 4th after its reporter inquired about an “HR [Human Resources] Work Session” the Board of Education had planned for later that afternoon.

”He has committed to serve through June 30, 2028,” the publication further reported the spokesperson as saying regarding Dr. Brown.

The story, though a genuine scoop, has received little or no mention elsewhere since it was posted.

The H.R. Committee’s work session was to be devoted entirely to an executive session.  The online publication implied Dr. Brown’s continuing status was to be discussed in that private committee meeting.

As of late Thursday morning, no news release or other notification could be found on the Ithaca City School District’s complex, multi-layered website concerning Dr. Brown’s status.

Asked to confirm the report, Tricia Beresford, Clerk of the Ithaca Board of Education, Thursday morning said this statement of fact: “Dr. Brown’s current contract is valid through June 30, 2028.”  Beresford directed further inquiries to the ICSD’s Communications Office.

Dr. Brown’s contract calls for the Ithaca Board of Education to provide the Superintendent annual extensions of that contract four years in advance of its termination.  The Board customarily votes on such extensions during June.

Winning candidate Todd Fox; He wanted no extension.

Following its Monday, June 3rd special meeting where it quickly discussed and approved the $163 Million revised 2024-25 Budget to be submitted voters for a re-vote later this month, the School Board recessed for an executive session, the latest of several in recent weeks.  The Monday closed session’s purpose was stated for “discussing the employment history of a particular individual,” a boilerplate phrase used to comply with the state’s Open Meetings Law.

“The work of the Board is done for the evening,” Board President Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell stated as he closed the open meeting.  “We have no clue how long we’ll be in executive session,” he said.  “But there will be no additional votes for the evening, as I understand them.” 

A post-meeting video confirms that absence of any further public action.

In the recent Ithaca School Board election, most candidates stood uncommitted as to whether they’d support further extending Dr. Brown’s contract.  However, one successful candidate, Todd Fox, stated publicly that he would not support an extension.

At several recent meetings, Superintendent Brown has assertively defended his tenure and performance during his years of service, despite recent New York State Education Department reports that found several schools, including Enfield Elementary, and most recently Boynton and Dewitt middle schools, deficient in their student performance.  The middle schools’ performance deficiency among African American students was cited in particular.

Any efforts to end Luvelle Brown’s contract prior to its June 2028 scheduled termination have not been discussed publicly by Board members during open meetings.

In January 2021, Dr. Brown had announced his planned resignation to accept a corporate position.  But he later rescinded that resignation, and the Board of Education at the time allowed the Superintendent to continue.  Annual contract extensions have followed.