Blasko to resign, get nearly $396K in severance with Monroe schools

The embattled superintendent exits weeks after a scathing report found his conduct created a toxic work environment.

Justin Blasko

Justin Blasko

MONROE — Superintendent Justin Blasko will resign July 31 and receive nearly $400,000 under an agreement reached with the Monroe School District.

Under the deal, Blasko will submit his resignation at the end of the month and receive $396,374.55 no later than Aug. 31. He also agreed not to sue nor seek a job with the district ever again.

Blasko, who earns roughly $250,000 a year, signed the six-page settlement June 30. School board president Jennifer Bumpus announced the deal Thursday and said directors would act on it in their meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

The agreement concludes a short and difficult superintendent tenure for Blasko, who was hired in 2010 as the district’s executive director of human resources. In 2016, he was named assistant superintendent of learning and teaching, and in February 2020, he was tapped to lead the district.

At the helm, he steered the district through uncharted territory as COVID forced public schools into remote education. As students returned to classrooms, he drew fire for his response to racial tensions including a spate of incidents on campuses. Eventually, Blasko’s own conduct toward his staff proved his undoing.

Blasko was put on paid leave in December as the district investigated claims from employees of his inappropriate language, bullying and sexist outbursts. Employees asserted his behavior created a toxic work environment. Investigators found most allegations credible.

Following release of the report, Blasko apologized and called the allegations against him “deeply troubling.”

He added he didn’t recall many of the specific incidents alleged in the report, but that “I do not question the integrity of the people who have contributed to the report, nor do I question the validity of their personal experiences or perceptions.”

The separation agreement requires the district remove the Seabold Group investigation and Blasko’s response from its website within seven days of the board’s action. Those documents will still be available through a public records request.

It also contains provisions specifying School Board Director Chuck Whitfield will handle “all employment inquiries” and “all employment references” regarding Blasko. Whitfield supported Blasko’s hiring as superintendent and voted last summer to extend his contract to 2025.

Meanwhile, the board is looking for an interim superintendent to lead the district through the 2022-23 school year.

On Monday, board members will review responses from a community survey of preferred skills and personality traits of the interim leader. Later in the week, they will review applicants for the position.

Mallory Gruben, a Report for America corps member, contributed to this story.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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