Milton School Board names interim schools superintendent
MILTON The Milton School District is moving forward with a temporary replacement for Superintendent Mike Garrow, who was placed on leave in October.
The school board in a special meeting Thursday night named longtime Milton East Elementary School Principal Theresa Rusch interim superintendent.
In a news release, the board said it was glad to appoint Rusch to the position, noting that she had planned to retire at the end of the school year.
Board President Rob Roy could not be reached late Thursday for details about how the district would compensate Rusch or how it would handle her positions at East and Consolidated elementary schools, where she is principal.
The district still is paying Garrow full pay and benefits. He is on an approved leave of absence through June 30.
The district initially put Garrow on leave after it received a "verbal complaint" Oct. 9 or Oct. 10 about Garrow's conduct, Roy said. It wasn't until Oct. 12 that Roy gave Garrow a notice that he was put on leave pending an investigation of his conduct by a board-appointed attorney.
Roy said he didn't give Garrow details about the complaint or the investigation at the recommendation of the board's attorney.
"He had that letter that placed him on leave," Roy said. "He knew something was going on, but he didn't know what it was related to until later, when he was talked to by an investigator."
Roy declined to give more information about the leave, citing laws protecting Garrow's privacy. The Gazette has formally requested district records of the complaint and the investigation.
Roy on Thursday refused to comment on the investigation, including its status or whether Garrow's ongoing leave is tied to the investigation or complaint.
Roy indicated the investigation never dealt with misappropriation of funds or criminal activity.
"There was no misappropriation," Roy said. "That was one of the rumors that was going around, I guess."
In a letter Garrow wrote last week in response to media open records requests about his leave, he denied what he called rumors, saying he didn't have an affair and was not involved in any "immoral" activities.
Garrow has maintained the leave has given him time to deal with his father's death and other family issues, and that it also will give him a chance to "pursue his dreams."
Garrow earns a salary of $122,000. His contract runs through June 30, 2014, according to district records.
It's not clear if he'll return after his leave.
Garrow told The Gazette in mid-October that he asked for the leave. He said he was unaware of any allegations about his conduct tied to his leave.
"If there is, it's news to me," he said.
That was shortly after the board had put Garrow on leave pending the investigation, although the board did not announce the investigation until after The Gazette filed an open records request earlier this month.
Roy said he would not comment on Garrow's statements because state law prevents him from discussing district personnel.
"I'd like to hold a press conference and tell everybody everything and have it cleared up and go away. I'm not legally able to do that," Roy said. "He (Garrow), on the other hand, can say whatever he wants."