Superintendent contract in limbo after five trustees leave meeting

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2, Mar 29, 2018, MonroeNow

In a surprising development, the Monroe Board of Education did not act on the future of its superintendent, Michael Kozak, at the March 27 public meeting.

A potential decision was scheduled on the agenda, however, after a closed session meeting to discuss the contract concluded, five trustees left the public meeting leaving the board without a quorum to act on certain matters such as a vote on the superintendent’s contract.

The reason behind trustees Michele Arminio, Marvin Braverman, Ken Chiarella, Dawn Quarino and Frank Russo’s departure is unclear. Trustees contacted have yet to respond to requests for comments. Some of those members supported asking Kozak to withdraw his resignation letter at the February meeting. Trustee Paul Rutsky was not at the meeting.

Kozak, who did respond about his contract Wednesday night was unable to provide information since the matter is still a personnel issue. He did state his desire to remain at the district, similar to comments he made during a meeting in February when trustees agreed in a 4-3 vote to direct the board secretary to ask Kozak to withdraw his resignation letter.

“I truly, truly enjoy serving the students, staff, community and the Board of Education of the Monroe Township School District and community-at-large,” Kozak said on Wednesday night. “I believe that the district is moving in a positive direction and that the programs and other initiatives that I have implemented in the district have had a positive effect on the students, staff and community, and I hope to be able to continue in my role of superintendent of schools.”

When trustees expressed their desire in February for Kozak to withdraw his December resignation letter, the adopted resolution stated the two parties would begin negotiations for a brief period and come to a resolution after that for a possible vote at the next meeting, which was Tuesday night.

The ramifications of failing to meet that self-imposed deadline are unclear.

Like Kozak, Board of Education President Kathy Kolupanowich said because the superintendent’s contract is considered a personnel matter she could not comment about his future.

“I cannot speak to the superintendent contract,” Kolupanowich said Thursday morning. “Not even as far as if we are negotiating or are not negotiating.”