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CLATSKANIE — School Superintendent Lloyd Hartley resigned Monday night, deepening the conflict over the decision not to renew the contract of a popular principal.

Following an executive session, the Clatskanie School Board accepted Hartley’s resignation and entered into a separation agreement.

Terms of the agreement will be released in the near future, board members said.

It was not clear whether the resignation is immediate or delayed until Hartley signs separation papers.

“I will be looking at other options as I decide where my next steps will be,” Hartley wrote in an email to The Daily News Monday night. “I look forward to continuing to be involved in this community and making it a home to raise my children.”

The announcement was met with mostly cheers and applause from the attendees at the school board meeting.

Hartley ignited a conflict recommending that the school board not renew the contract of elementary principal Brad Thorud in February — a recommendation the school board adopted on a 3-2 vote.

That decision has polarized the small town of about 1,800. One school board member resigned due to backlash from the Thorud decision, and two others, Monty Akin and Judy Skirvin, are targets of a May 1 recall effort.

Last week, Hartley announced that he was taking a leave of absence due to stress.

In Monday’s email, Hartley said he plans to help the school district during the transition and that he and his family plan to stay in Clatskanie.

Hartley thanked several teachers for helping teach his sons, as well as the school board for its hard work.

“Being a school board member is the most challenging volunteer work there is, and is oftentimes a thankless and stressful position,” he wrote. “Every board member I have worked with, including the current ones of Monty Akin, Megan Evenson, and Judy Skirvin have a great passion and commitment to the students and am grateful for their continued work in improving the lives of the students in the district.”

Hartley makes $110,000 annually.

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