State

Knox County school board votes not to renew contract of superintendent

School board members in Knox County have voted not to renew the contract of Superintendent Kelly Sprinkles, whom a state agency said had violated hiring rules.

The 3-2 vote came over the strong objections of some parents supporting Sprinkles at a special board meeting on Tuesday, said board member Gordon Hinkle.

Hinkle, who said student test scores have improved significantly under Sprinkles, and board member Charles Merida voted to renew Sprinkles’ contract.

Members Dexter Smith, Merrill Smith and Peggy Gray voted not to renew Sprinkles’ contract, which expires June 30, Hinkle said.

The three reportedly did not explain their vote at the meeting.

The Kentucky Office of Education Accountability last year substantiated allegations against Sprinkles, Dexter Smith and Merrill Smith.

Among other things, the agency said Sprinkles violated state law by requesting emergency teaching certifications for two teachers even though there were other qualified applicants.

Sprinkles said he did not knowingly violate any rules.

The OEA also found that Dexter and Merrill Smith had had improper involvement in personnel matters and in the day-to-day operation of schools.

The Kentucky Department of Education reviews findings by the OEA and has the authority to suspend or remove superintendents and board members.

The department “has an open investigation into numerous allegations regarding the Knox County schools,” spokeswoman Nancy Rodriguez said Wednesday.

The department does not comment on such investigations, she said.

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