Superintendent stays silent while McCracken County School Board talks about taking action

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — A local school district has been under fire and under investigation. On Monday, we’re finally hearing from school board members.

The McCracken County Board of Education called a special meeting Monday. It came after several McCracken County High School employees and a student were charged last month. You can read about that at this link. Some of those charges included sexual offenses and failing to report sexual abuse.

The meeting started in public, but the board quickly went into executive session to talk about two things in private: the superintendent’s annual evaluation and “discussions which might lead to the appointment, discipline, or dismissal of an individual employee.”

Superintendent Brian Harper

“This is a very difficult job. It’s not always fair, but we cannot forget the purpose and the cause that we are fighting for,” School board chairman Steve Shelby said. “And that is to provide the absolute best education for the students of McCracken County, and that’s what my goal is.”

The board talked for more than two hours. Shelby said they legally can’t tell us what they talked about behind closed doors, but minutes after the meeting ended, Superintendent Brian Harper reinstated Director of Pupil Personnel Brian Bowland.

You may remember, Bowland was charged with official misconduct. That charge was dropped last week.

Chair Steve Shelby

I tried to speak to the superintendent after the meeting. He ignored me and walked right past. “Mr. Harper, I was wondering if you had some time to talk with me today? I’m not trying to chase you down at all. I would just like to sit and have some questions answered,” I said. “Mr. Harper, you are choosing to ignore me, and you are also choosing to ignore parents that have questions they want answered.”

I called him after, but I have not heard back.

School Board Vice Chairwoman Melanie Burkeen said they are ready to make some bold decisions at the district level. “It’s going to be OK. We are going to make it better, the best we can,” Burkeen said. “We are not going to stop until we got everything resolved.”

Vice Chair Melanie Burkeen

She didn’t go into specifics, but said Monday’s special meeting might be the start.

Also on the agenda, the discussion of Harper’s annual evaluation. Shelby said they discussed the superintendent’s annual evaluation today, because they want to get it done earlier this year. He said he legally cannot confirm or deny if it has anything to do with employees being charged.

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