CROCKER, Mo. (Feb. 6, 2013) — Following months of fighting, a closed-session motion to place him on paid administration leave that was later retracted in closed session at a special board meeting, and the resignation of two board members, Superintendent Jim Bogle is out as the head of the Crocker R-II School District.
Bogle opponent Don Mayhew argues his point during a January closed session of the Crocker R-II School Board.
According to a Wednesday announcement from the Crocker school district, Bogle’s interim replacement will be retired Camdenton Superintendent Ronnie Hendricks, a Crocker High School graduate who served 20 years as Camdenton superintendent and has 40 years experience in education.
The district’s official announcement gives no reasons for Bogle’s resignation but thanks him “for his many years of dedication to the staff and patrons” of Crocker and says that “we wish him well and thank him for all the successes we have shared.”
Bogle had been the focus of controversies several years ago in the Crocker district, but it’s not clear from the closed session minutes, obtained through the Missouri Sunshine Law, what prompted the new critics of Bogle or what finally caused his resignation. Neither of the two board members who resigned, former board president Bob Boulware or his replacement as president, Mark Sasfy, have publicly indicated their positions on Bogle’s work. Boulware, a longtime Crocker resident who had been superintendent of the Swedeborg R-III School District and Laquey R-V School District prior to his retirement, has had serious health problems in recent years.
Boulware missed the Dec. 18 school board meeting, and his resignation was formally accepted at the Jan. 22 board meeting. In a Dec. 17 letter, Boulware cited his health issues and doctor’s advice to resign from the board, but said he resigned with regret.
“I feel that I am letting down the people of the community who encouraged me to run for election and have supported me,” Boulware wrote, but said “this is definitely the right thing for me to do at this time.”
Boulware urged the remaining board members to “please set your focus on the common goal and all work toward that end,” noting that “there are so many things left to complete and it will take all of you working together.”
Sasfy did not submit a written resignation letter.
Boulware’s term had not yet expired but Sasfy was up for re-election this year. Since he and Kris York were the only two people to file for the two positions open, Crocker did not have a board election scheduled this April. That likely means that the five remaining current school board members will have to fill two vacant positions on the seven-member board, with the two appointees needing to run for re-election in April 2014.
Bogle’s situation came under review at several special closed-session meetings.
Just two days after the regular meeting on Dec. 18, Crocker board members a special closed session meeting on Dec. 20 which Bogle was excused from attending and at which Boulware was absent. However, Crocker High School Principal Tami Bobbitt and Crocker High School teacher Michael Ellis were both present for the three-hour-long meeting.
Another closed session meeting was held on Dec. 28, this time beginning at an unusual 7 a.m. time. Boulware was again absent, Bogle was excused, and Bobbitt and Ellis were both present. At that meeting, board members voted unanimously to approve a motion introduced by board member Don Mayhew and seconded by board member Kris York to “administratively suspend school district superintendent with pay until a meeting date is determined by the board of education to review the issue and take appropriate action.” The board scheduled a Jan. 2 meeting between the “presiding school board president” — who by that time would have been Sasfy in his role as vice-president due to Boulware’s resignation — and the board treasurer to “meet with the superintendent and explain reason and purpose of suspension.” That motion was made by board member John Riffe and seconded by Mayhew.
Bogle’s administrative suspension was lifted on Jan. 11 in another special closed session from which Bogle and Boulware were both excused. Mayhew attempted to “terminate superintendent’s employment for due cause,” but his motion died for lack of a second. All other board members except Mayhew, on a motion by Riffe seconded by board member Rob Goodrich, voted to “rescind superintendent’s administrative leave and reinstate him as superintendent.” The board then voted to direct the superintendent to “as soon as practicable work with Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) and initiate district-wide training on school board policy as directed by the board of education” and to “retain Mr. David Dicke as arbitrator/compliance officer as required to help facilitate staff grievances at the lowest level possible.” Mayhew voted against the proposals for MSBA training and for retaining Dicke, a retired superintendent of a outside the area who returned to Pulaski County for retirement, who several years ago served as interim superintendent at Swedeborg following the mid-year resignation of its former superintendent.
Following the regular Jan. 22 board meeting, which had a closed session lasting until midnight, another closed session meeting was held on Jan. 24 for personnel matters. The Jan. 22 closed session minutes indicate that the board discussed hiring a police officer to be a school resource officer protecting the school district, meeting with Crocker Police Chief Chris Twitchell for that purpose, and then went into a long closed session from which Bogle, Bobbitt, and Crocker Elementary School Principal Teresa Helton were all excused. The Jan. 24 meeting ran for an hour and a half with no motions made or actions taken other than setting another closed session on Jan. 28 for personnel matters. Another closed session was held on Jan. 31 at the unusual time of 7 a.m. to discuss personnel and legal matters; at that two-hour meeting from which Bogle was excused but at which attorney Tom Mickes was present, board members voted unanimously to “approve the separation agreement with Mr. Jim Bogle as submitted and amended by counsel.”
Terms of that separation agreement were not immediately available.
Although Sasfy voted in favor of approving the separation agreement, he resigned from the board that day without giving a written letter of resignation. Board members voted unanimously to accept his resignation and to approve Rob Goodrich as the person to sign the separation agreement with Bogle.
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