Hays superintendent’s ouster linked to teacher investigation

Hays superintendent’s ouster linked to teacher investigation

By Melissa B. Taboada – American-Statesman Staff

A months-long Hays school district investigation into complaints of a hostile work environment at an elementary school played a role in the abrupt departure of Superintendent Michael McKie, documents obtained by the American-Statesman show.

McKie, hired in May 2013, had two years left on his contract when he resigned May 9. He received a settlement of $236,929, according to a district separation agreement, which prevents the district, trustees and McKie from making any disparaging remarks or disclosing the events leading to the agreement.

The records obtained by the Statesman shed light on a personnel dispute at Hemphill Elementary School that caused divisions between administrators and the school board in the weeks before McKie decided to leave.

Multiple employees at Hemphill Elementary complained that two teachers who are friends of school board member Esperanza Orosco had bullied and intimidated other staff members at the school, according to the records.

Staff members interviewed during the investigation also made similar allegations about Orosco, who frequently visited the teachers at the school.

When McKie notified the school board that actions were being taken to address the teachers’ behavior, some board members raised questions about the investigation, causing friction between a few trustees and McKie and other administrators, the records show. Then-school board President Holly Raymond said in an email to McKie that a human resources administrator had used unacceptable tactics when he interviewed two dozen school staffers.

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