Marie Schrul, whose recent dismissal as St. Paul Public Schools’ finance chief was criticized by district watchdogs, has been named executive director of finance for Stillwater Area Public Schools.
She begins work Monday and will be paid $171,103 yearly, a Stillwater school district spokeswoman said. The move comes as Minnesota school districts finalize 2023 tax levies and await results of 2021-22 school year audits.
“Marie is highly regarded in the world of school finance, and she brings a vast background in school finance to our district,” Stillwater Superintendent Mike Funk said in a news release. “She will be a tremendous asset to our team and will help us align our financial resources to positive student outcomes.”
Schrul will oversee a significantly smaller budget than the one she had in St. Paul. At 8,290 students, the Stillwater district is about one-quarter of the size of St. Paul Public Schools.
The Stillwater job has been filled on an interim basis since 2020.
Schrul began her career in St. Paul in 1998 and served as chief financial officer there for eight years before her job was eliminated in September. She then was bypassed for a new position as executive chief of financial services when Superintendent Joe Gothard instead chose Tom Sager, director of business services for Mankato Area Public Schools.
Community members and parents already critical of decisions by St. Paul district officials viewed Schrul’s ouster with suspicion. During the COVID-19 pandemic, her office spearheaded corrective action related to nutrition services spending. She had also warned this summer of the increasing debt load associated with the district’s multiyear facilities plan.
In September, School Board Member Uriah Ward, who cast the lone vote against Sager’s hiring, described Schrul as a “trusted leader.” Gothard told the board that the candidate who best fit the job description was chosen.
Sager, who attended his first St. Paul school board meeting last week, is being paid $199,500, about the same salary that Schrul had earned as chief financial officer with the district.