McCreary County Superintendent Michael Cash has been suspended for 30 working days without pay while an investigation is completed.
School board members did not say why they voted Friday to suspend Cash. On Tuesday, school board attorney Tim Crawford said he could not comment on the nature of the concerns that were being investigated.
The board voted to authorize an investigation into “undisclosed concerns” about Cash, Crawford said.
The board authorized pay of up to $10,000 for an investigator, who will come from another county. There was no deadline set to finish the investigation and report to the board, but the hope is that the board will get the report before the end of Cash’s suspension, Crawford said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
The school board chairman will be able to issue subpoenas on behalf of the investigator. The board also voted to contract with a retired superintendent from outside McCreary County to replace Cash during the suspension. No particular retired superintendent or potential salary was identified during the meeting.
In a video of the Feb. 1 school board meeting, some audience members asked school board members to confirm that the investigation involved a hidden camera at a school and to disclose whether actions were going to be taken against a second party. Also concern was expressed about what the camera recorded.
Board members did not respond to those questions.
Cash became acting superintendent in January 2016 and superintendent on July 1, 2016. He has a four-year contract ending June 30, 2020, Crawford said.
Any action against an employee other than the superintendent or board attorney would fall under the authority of an acting superintendent, not the board, Crawford said.
Once the board gets the investigation report, it will have to vote on whether to file administrative charges against Cash.
The Kentucky Commissioner of Education would have to give the OK to proceed to a termination hearing, and firing Cash would require the votes of four of the five board members. The board could also opt for lesser sanctions such as a reprimand.
On Tuesday, Braxton King, who said he had been a board member for about a month, said he could not discuss the situation.
Cassie Trueblood, policy adviser and special counsel to the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board that oversees educator licenses in the state, said there is not currently a case against Cash. She said complaints and reports of educator misconduct that have not resulted in an educator case are preliminary and, therefore, exempt from disclosure.