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Utah state ed board member calls for investigation

First Published Aug 19 2014 01:01AM      Last Updated Aug 19 2014 01:01 am
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His wife also has a pending lawsuit against state education officials and the state charter school board.

"What I gather is, we are preparing to enter the 2015 legislative session with an interim superintendent who does not hold the qualifications that we, as a board, have decided we want to have in a state superintendent, who hasn’t ever been a teacher in a public school system and will try to be both the state superintendent and the superintendent of the Utah Schools of the Deaf and Blind," Warner wrote.

Warner contends that according to the board’s own bylaws, the full board should have been involved in the appointment, and it should have been done in a public meeting. She wants the board to hold an immediate public meeting to discuss the issue.

Crandall said Monday it was his understanding that the board wanted leadership to appoint an interim superintendent, since Menlove will be gone before the next monthly board meeting.

Board member Kim Burningham, however, said Monday he agrees with Warner that the full board should appoint an interim superintendent in public.

"It ought to be a matter of more open concern," Burningham said. As for the other closed meetings, he said he doesn’t remember what was discussed specifically enough to comment.

Warner is also asking for an explanation as to why the board’s audit committee closed its Aug. 7 meeting to the public and Superintendent Menlove.

When asked Monday if he moved up his retirement because he was shut out of that meeting, Menlove declined to comment.

Crandall has acknowledged that the timing of Deputy State Superintendent Brenda Hales’ departure likely was related to the closure of that meeting.

Hales had been planning to retire for months, but she decided not to return to work earlier this month, instead using vacation and other leave until her resignation becomes official at the end of the year.

Hales has said no one event in particular led to her resignation.

Warner also said she was surprised to see several board members make what she considered a one-sided presentation opposing renewal of Utah’s wavier to the No Child Left Behind law at a superintendents’ conference in northern Utah.

"Is this how the State Board of Education operates?" Warner asked in her letter. "Small groups doing their own thing but representing the state board as a whole? Giving one-sided presentations without the knowledge or input from other board members?"

Board members ultimately decided to seek a renewal of Utah’s waiver, but only after much discussion and debate. Crandall, who was one of those making the presentation, said Monday he didn’t see the presentation as one-sided.




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