Menifee superintendent resigned as part of settlement with the state

In July 2015, the Kentucky Department of Education took over Menifee County Schools, placing the district under state management.

Menifee County Superintendent Benny Patrick resigned Aug. 31 this year as part of an $85,000 settlement between Patrick, the Kentucky Department of Education, and the Menifee Board of Education, according to documents released by the department Friday.

Patrick’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Friday evening.

The settlement, signed by Patrick and Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt in August, said that Patrick “shall resign from his employment with the Menifee County Board of Education and Menifee County Schools effective at the close of business on August 31, 2016.”

The settlement said that the Education Department and the Menifee County Board of Education would pay $85,000 as settlement in a one-time lump sum payment to Patrick and his attorney.

A notice of a personnel action issued April 4 against Patrick will be removed from his personnel file, under the agreement.

An administrative action filed by Patrick against Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt was dismissed and will be sealed.

Patrick will be compensated for unused sick leave.

The Menifee News-Outlook, the newspaper that first reported the settlement, said on Friday that Patrick was first hired as interim superintendent by Menifee Board of Education members on June 19, 2014, and was later hired as permanent superintendent under a four-year contract on Jan. 30, 2015.

Calling for a “change in culture,” Kentucky Board of Education members voted in July 2015 for a state takeover of the Menifee County district, which had about 1,100 students in Frenchburg. Being managed by the state means the state education commissioner, instead of the local school board and superintendent, had control of all aspects of the management of the district.

Prior to the district being placed in state management, it had been under state assistance since December 2014 after a management audit found a significant lack of effectiveness in governance of the district, including finances and instruction, according to Herald-Leader archives. The Kentucky Department of Education had ordered the management audit before Patrick became interim superintendent, Patrick told the Herald-Leader in 2014.

Documents from the Kentucky Board of Education’s August meeting said that a state manager and staff are providing leadership and support to the Menifee County district. Breathitt County is the only other district in Kentucky under state management.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears