Petition addressed – School board: no wrongdoing found

By Sarah Pridgeon

The Crook County School District Board of Trustees has announced its response to a petition that was presented to them on July 18 that called for the immediate dismissal of Superintendent Lon Streib. A statement addressing the allegations within the petition was read following a lengthy executive session at September’s meeting of the board.

The petition claimed that Superintendent Streib has “acted with conduct that violates specific state statutes/policies as set forth by the Wyoming School Board Association and the Wyoming Department of Education.” Specifically, it stated that Streib has shown incompetency, neglect of duty, insubordination and failure to perform duties in a satisfactory manner.

It went on to assert that Superintendent Streib has exhibited behaviors which violate the Wyoming State Statute that no public official, member or employee shall use his office or position for his private benefit.

The petition cited specific instances of consistent unethical practices of misappropriating school resources, bullying and harassing administrators and teachers, a lack of effort and action to protect children subject to bullying by a teacher and continued disregard for and breaking of policies and state statutes.

“The citizens of Crook County support excellence in our schools and do not feel the current Crook County School District #1 Superintendent possesses the capacity to progressively, creatively and proactively move our children, schools and district forward modeling high moral and ethical behavior,” said the petition. “The citizens also believe the superintendent does not encompass the capacity to formulate consistent, ethical, moral, supportive or unbiased decisions.”

A compromise was reached at a special meeting of the board, held in August, that allowed board members to review an accompanying packet of evidence while acknowledging the request of those named within the evidence to protect their privacy. An investigative committee was then convened at August’s regular meeting of the board to review the evidence provided.

The findings of the committee were discussed in executive session at this month’s board meeting after, said Chairman Todd McInerney, the board had spent three weeks reviewing the evidence individually. The individual allegations brought up within the petition were not addressed verbatim; rather, three specific issues were addressed.

Regarding the CCSD Leadership Governance Policy that says, “The superintendent will report to the board those employees who are under disciplinary or instructional plans,” Chairman McInerney stated that, “We, the board, have found that the intent of the policy has been followed.”

The second issue addressed was neglect of duty when hiring the 2012 summer school staff and regular contracts. “It is the practice of this board that, in March, all teachers are voted on to be rehired or not offered a contract, and that procedure is in compliance with Wyoming State Statute 21-7-109 and Policy GCB – Professional Staff Contract and Compensation Plans,” said McInerney.

Finally, the board’s decision was announced regarding violation of Wyoming Department of Education State Board Rules and Regulations, Chapter 21, Section 4, on the development of a modified school calendar.

“Not only this board, but the Wyoming Department of Education, has approved all documentation authorizing an alternative school calendar for this district,” said McInerney. “The documents are available at Central Office for anyone wanting to view them.”

Following his statement, McInerney commented the board is willing to admit that several issues have been noted that show work is needed to adjust policies to make them clearer for the staff and community.

A motion was made by Trustee Ken Rathbun and seconded by Trustee Wayne Jordan to accept the statements as the official position of the board with respect to the petition. Trustee Steve Blakeman requested a roll call vote; all board members voted to approve the motion except Blakeman.