This story originally appeared on 6abc.
Tensions ran high at a Central Bucks School District meeting Tuesday night when board members approved a six-figure severance package for its resigned superintendent.
After back and forth between the audience and board members, Abram Lucabaugh is expected to receive a payout of over $700,000.
The school board voted 6-3 on the terms of Lucabaugh’s resignation. Lucabaugh was not present at the meeting.
Many who attended the event were outraged over the decision.
“I’m just absolutely stunned by the whole thing. The inactions of both political parties,” said Joe Dacri from Warrington.
This all comes less than a week after Democrats swept the school board race.
But they don’t take control until December, which means the Republican-controlled board voted on his leave.
Lucabaugh received a new contract and a 40% salary increase in July, making him the second highest-paid superintendent in the commonwealth.
His severance package includes a year’s salary and more than $200,000 in unused sick time.
Many parents who spoke out at Tuesday night’s meeting expressed their anger at the high number.
“What’s driving this resignation and this deal? Are you so scared of the incoming board majority? Are you afraid of what they will find? Is this a bid to buy your silence?” one woman questioned as the public was given their time to speak.
“You’re the problem in this community. You are the problem in this community, shame on you,” another woman said on the microphone.
Many people were met with standing ovations after speaking out over the deal.
“This money could hire more teachers, hire more support staff,” another attendee said.
Education policy expert Michael Kozak from Drexel University says while the number may seem high, it’s all a matter of what’s in the employment contract.
What is unusual, he says, is the timing.
“You have a board with new board members coming on and the general rule of thumb with boards of education is to not take action a month or two before a new board comes on,” said Kozak.
Action News reached out to the superintendent and the current Republican members of the school board but didn’t hear back.
Officials say Assistant Superintendent Charles Malone will serve as interim superintendent.
The board also voted on another topic during Tuesday’s meeting.
It voted 6-3 to have transgender athletes in the school district play for teams based on the sex the student was assigned at birth.
The district has faced backlash this year after the board barred school staff from using students’ chosen names and pronouns without parental permission. The board also enforced policies which prohibited classroom discussions that opponents say targeted LGBTQ+ students.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.