Iowa City schools superintendent announces he has no plans to renew contract

Steve Murley, superintendent for the Iowa City Community School District, announced Tuesday that he will step down from the position in June 2021.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

School District President Stephen Murley speaks during a School Board meeting. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Katie Ann McCarver, News Editor

Iowa City Community School District Superintendent Steve Murley announced on Tuesday that he will not renew his contract in June 2021. According to an open letter to staff, families, students, and more, Murley believes next summer is an opportune time for change both personally and professionally.

“As I look back on the last ten years, I am very proud to have been part of a team that has done so much for our children,” Murley wrote in the letter. “I genuinely feel that the district is set up for success for years to come.”

Murley said a primary reason his family moved to ICCSD was to provide his sons with a quality education — the youngest of which will graduate in May 2020. He thanked the community for preparing his children for higher education, a career, and life in general.

“For that we owe this community our heartfelt gratitude,” Murley wrote. “The community welcomed us with open arms and made our time in Iowa a warm and enjoyable experience. We have met so many wonderful people and formed life-long friendships.”

Murley began as superintendent in 2010, which means he will have held the position for a total of nearly 11 years by the time of his departure. Prior to his term in Iowa City schools, Murley worked in three different school districts in Wisconsin in various positions, according to the ICCSD website.

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In his letter, Murley reviewed a number of initiatives he’s accomplished since arriving in Iowa, including the district’s first strategic and diversity, equity, and inclusion plans, more equitably distributed human resources at each school, implementing a laptop program for junior high and high school students, and more.

He also reminded readers of a facilities master plan that cost the district $414 million to construct six schools and renovate several others, which was completed in seven years despite estimations it would take a decade. The project was funded by the largest state obligation bond of $192 million, ever.

“In a professional capacity, I have been fortunate to work with some of the finest teachers, administrators, and staff that I have known throughout my career,” Murley wrote in the letter.

According to district board documents, Murley’s current contract was approved by the Iowa City School Board in 2018, which allotted for an additional three years of work through June 2021, and an annual base salary of $226,000. Though this salary was the same as the previous year, the contract included the possibility of an annual renegotiation for pay raise.

Murley concluded his letter with a promise to work intentionally with the parents, students, and staff of the community over his final academic year in the district to make it the finest in the country.

“Thank you all so very much for everything that you have done to make my time here so rewarding,” Murley finished.