Superintendent May Lose Job

1 decade 10 months 4 weeks ago Monday, September 17 2007 Sep 17, 2007 Monday, September 17, 2007 7:52:12 AM CDT September 17, 2007 in News

The school district attorney Duane Martin says Spessard is incompetent, insubordinate and inefficient.

Martin said the district believes Spessard did not properly handle a sexual harassment case involving a teacher and some of his female students. Martin said Spessard defied the school board by sending the teacher a letter that terminated his contract.

The superintendent does not have the authority to terminate contracts, but it can suspend the teacher's contract. Spessard's attorney Niki Sublett said Spessard was trying to get the teacher out of the school to keep students as safe as possible from sexual harassment.

Sublett said that was the purpose of Spessard's letter. But Martin also said Spessard did not fully or properly investigate this sexual harassment case. Martin said Spessard took too long to contact the students involved and then didn't even interview all of them.

Martin also said parents of the alleged victims weren't informed that their children may have been sexually harassed. Sublett says Spessard felt he had enough information to investigate the situation without needing to interview all of the students.

Another charge against Spessard raised by Martin was that the superintendent was insubordinate in his handling of contract negotiations with a teacher. The school board voted not to renew a teacher's contract right before that teacher was to receive tenure.

That teacher contacted Spessard asking for a special meeting to discuss this decision. Martin said Spessard undermined the authority of the school board by calling this meeting. Sublett said a school board member illegally saw the teacher's personnel file. The file contained information on the teacher's sexual preference. Sublett said this raises concerns about discrimination.

The last charge Martin raised involved Spessard illegally certifying a fraudulent school board ballot earlier in 2007. A write-in candidate was included on the ballot, but that candidate wasn't valid because he had filed for the position past the deadline.

Martin said Spessard went out of his way to get that candidate on the ballot even though he was not eligible. Sublett said Spessard made a mistake and misinterpreted the law, but Martin said Spessard clearly demonstrated his understanding of the law the year before when a similar situation occurred.

Sublett said Spessard believes what he was doing at the time was right. Martin said the school board should consider the superintendent's actions to determine if he is capable enough for this position. Board members will review the transcript of Wednesday night's meeting before making a decision regarding Spessard's employment in Belle. Spessard is two years from retirement.

 

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