Petitions Presented at Fairview School Board Meeting
Petitions signed by 270 individuals were presented to the Fairview school board last Tuesday night, asking for the reinstatement of principal Reuben Moreno.
On September 10, Moreno was placed on paid administrative leave by superintendent Kloker citing insubordination. Following disagreements with the head football coach, Moreno had given a verbal resignation as assistant football coach on September 5. At the regular school board meeting on September 9, he asked to rescind that resignation, which was denied.
Board chair Randy Skov allowed approximately 10 minutes for public comment. Questions and comments concerning the placement of principal Moreno on administrative leave included disruption to the students, as well as the effects on principal Moreno’s family in a small community like Fairview. Skov replied that it was a clear cut deal, that it was done, and asked the public to “trust that we’re doing what’s best”. He also stated that he had not read the letter from Kloker to Moreno.
A concern was also raised about the school paying for continuing education for 6 employees, which was not addressed.
After confusing comments from Skov about “the board’s decision” and “the superintendent’s decision”, a board member later confirmed that no action has been taken by the board concerning the placement of principal Moreno on administrative leave.
In a telephone interview, Dennis Palmer, deputy superintendent of the Montana Office of Public Instruction explained that since the action is a labor issue, there are no rules that govern schools. He stated that typically a school board would need to meet in either a regular or special meeting at which time the board would take the action of placing someone on administrative leave. Only the school board has the authority to hire and fire personnel. Whether the leave is paid or unpaid is also a decision typically made by the trustees since they are in charge of finances. Even though Palmer said he had heard of trustees giving power to the superintendent to make those decisions, he said it is abdicating their own authority as trustees to do so, since that also gives the superintendent authority to govern his own actions.
The next Fairview school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 9 in the boardroom.