Neither Fort Collins High School nor Poudre School District officials will discuss why they paid former FCHS athletic director Skip Caddoo more than $16,000 to stay home for much of the fall semester.
Caddoo, a longtime PSD employee, was removed from his post by the district board on Oct. 22, five days after first-year FCHS Principal Tam Smith announced Caddoo’s resignation to the school’s community. The board, in approving a nondisclosed “separation agreement” with Caddoo, approved providing the former AD $16,877.41 in severance pay — the amount Caddoo would have earned through the remainder of 2019.
Last week, Fort Collins High School hired Caddoo’s temporary replacement.
Marc Buffington, a social studies teacher last fall and former baseball and cross-country coach at Poudre High School, will serve as the interim athletic director at FCHS for the rest of the school year, a PSD spokesperson said in a recent email to the Coloradoan. The high school hopes to fill the position over the summer and expects to post a job listing on its website this spring, PSD spokesperson Madeline Noblett said.
Athletic directors at PSD middle schools and high schools are also assistant principals and are required to hold administrative licenses.
Smith declined to discuss the circumstances of Caddoo’s sudden departure last fall. An email sent to parents Oct. 17 by Smith read: “Skip Caddoo is no longer the Athletic Director/Assistant Principal at FCHS. Effective on Thursday, October 17th, Skip stepped down from his position as AD/AP.”
A statement from Caddoo in the email read: “I am leaving my position with FCHS/PSD and entering into retirement. It has been a pleasure working with all of you, and I wish you the best.”
Caddoo’s PSD-issued cellphone number is no longer active, and he could not be reached for further comment.
Smith’s email to parents said assistant principal Rob Larson, who has previously served as the school’s athletic director, “will be acting as the point person for athletics until the position is filled.
“Thank you for your patience in understanding the current deficit we have in regard to athletic leadership. I will do my best to fill the position, however, the position will remain open until I find the best candidate.”
PSD denied the Coloradoan’s open records request for a copy of Caddoo’s separation agreement Oct. 28, calling it a “confidential personnel file record protected from disclosure” under the Colorado Open Records Act. Coloradoan leadership contested that determination and submitted an additional records request for items government agencies must specifically make available under the state law.
In response to the Coloradoan’s follow-up request, PSD shared payroll records that show Caddoo received $16,877.41 in severance pay, which is equal to the amount of money he would have earned through Dec. 31 had he continued working at his monthly pay rate of $9,767.33.
His severance package also included an additional $4,883.34 in career incentive longevity pay, a bonus PSD pays on a monthly basis to administrators with 15 or more years of licensed service and 20 or more total years of employment by the district. He was scheduled to receive $117,208 in salary and $5,850 in career longevity pay for the 2019-20 school year, according to his PSD employment records received through the Coloradoan’s follow-up request.
A job listing to fill the position on an interim basis was posted on the PSD website from Oct. 21-Nov. 1, Noblett said.
“Licensed and administrative positions that open after the school year starts are typically filled on a temporary or interim basis for the remainder of that respective school year,” Noblett said in response to one of several questions the Coloradoan submitted via email.
Buffington is a Poudre High graduate who played baseball at Otero Junior College in La Junta and George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Colorado State University, according to his biographical information on the Poudre High website.
Caddoo’s employment records show that he first started working for PSD in 1990-91 as a science teacher at Lesher Junior High School, where he spent three years working on one-year contracts. His permanent employment with the district began in 2003, payroll records show, when he accepted a temporary assignment as a science teacher at Lincoln Junior High. He went on to become an assistant principal and counselor in 2004-05 and at Cache La Poudre Junior High/Middle School and later served as the principal there for five years. Cadoo started working at Fort Collins High School in August 2016, serving as the school’s dean of students for three years before moving into the athletic director role prior to the 2015-16 school year in a job swap with Larson.
Although Caddoo received his regular pay through Oct. 15, records show, he was noticeably absent from Fort Collins High School athletic events he had previously attended beginning in mid-September. Several parents and coaches said they had been told that the athletic director had been suspended and that they were not to contact him.
Caddoo was not suspended by the district, Noblett said, and turned in paperwork to retire Oct. 17. Citing district policy, she declined to provide any additional information on what she said was “a confidential personnel matter.”
Kelly Lyell covers CSU and other local sports and sports-related news for the Coloradoan. Follow him at twitter.com/KellyLyell and facebook.com/KellyLyell.news and help support the work he and his fellow journalists do in our community by purchasing a subscription at coloradoan.com/subscribe.