Report on Monroe superintendent’s conduct delivered to school board

Employees accused Justin Blasko of fomenting a hostile workplace. Findings won’t be public for about two weeks or longer.

Justin Blasko

Justin Blasko

MONROE — An investigation into allegations of improper conduct and policy violations by Monroe public schools superintendent Justin Blasko is done.

The report was delivered to the district’s Board of Directors on Thursday, but it could be two weeks before the findings are public.

“At this time, the report must remain confidential for at least 10 business days for what is called ‘third party notification.’ During this window of time, school board directors cannot share the report or its findings,” board president Jennifer Bumpus wrote in a message to the community posted online.

“The Board of Directors and district leadership intend to deal with this personnel matter in a way that follows district policy and all applicable laws, and also to be as open and transparent with staff, families, and the broader Monroe community each step along the way,” she wrote.

Directors met in a special executive session at 6 p.m. Friday to review the performance of an employee.

A copy of the report was provided to Blasko’s lawyer Thursday, a district spokesperson said.

Under state law, he could, during the notification period, seek to redact portions of the report or block its release.

Blasko, who earns about $250,000 a year, was placed on administrative leave Dec. 18 as allegations of workplace bullying and concerns with his handling of racism in the district fueled calls for his resignation.

Days earlier, two employees had filed civil rights complaints with the district alleging the superintendent created a “hostile work environment,” including instances of “intimidation, abuse of power and unethical behavior.”

A week before Blasko was sidelined, students walked out of class at Monroe High School and families rallied on the street outside of the district’s administration building to protest the way he responded to harassment and bullying incidents on campus.

The Board of Directors hired the Seabold Group, a woman-owned firm that specializes in workplace investigations, to handle the inquiry. It was led by former assistant U.S. attorney and civil litigator Kris Cappel, a principal of the company.

Parents, teachers and community leaders hope the report is released as soon as the waiting period ends.

“The Monroe community is ready for resolution,” Melanie Ryan, president of the Monroe Equity Council, wrote in an email. “As a community, it is imperative we continue to remain vigilant in holding people and systems of power accountable and do our part to create a safe, inclusive, and anti-racist culture.”

Blasko joined the district in 2010. In 2016, he was named assistant superintendent of learning and teaching. He was promoted to superintendent in February 2020.

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

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