Former super’s new position part of complaints made against district

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By Kacie Goode

In exchange for stepping out of his role as superintendent of Nelson County Schools, the district created a “director of process, research and improvement” position for Anthony Orr, which he moved into effective Aug. 1.

The agreement created between Orr and the district stipulated he would “provide monthly reports containing research, reports and information directly related to process improvement for the Nelson County School District,” and that Orr would continue receiving his same salary and benefits. The position would run until June 30, 2018.

But that agreement and position have since become at least one subject of an investigation launched against the district following complaints made to the state’s Office of Education Accountability.

On Oct. 24, The Kentucky Standard requested copies of the monthly reports Orr was supposed to be providing the district, but received a response from school board attorney Terry Geoghegan that the district had not asked Orr to make those formal reports “pending possible litigation due to complaints made to the Office of Education Accountability.”

Geoghegan said those issues remained pending and were being addressed appropriately. Geoghegan also later confirmed Orr was still receiving his salary, which remained the same as his superintendent pay per the agreement approved in July.

An additional request for information was also made regarding what work Orr had been doing if reports were not submitted, if any reports had been made prior to the complaints being filed, and if Orr was still residing in Nelson County or if he could continue the work outside the county.

In an email Wednesday afternoon following that request, Geoghegan said, “Since litigation and/or complaints have been filed which may affect our school system, we are unable to respond until those matters are resolved.”

According to a deed filed in the Nelson County Clerk’s Office, the Orrs sold their home on Holy Cross Road in New Haven Aug. 24. They had purchased it March 31.

In September at least one community member — Matthew Reynolds — filed a complaint against the district regarding the legality of the school board creating the position for Orr and suggesting it went against the school board members’ oath. The complaint was filed with the Office of Education Accountability, which is charged with investigating allegations of waste, mismanagement and illegal activity.

When contacted by the Standard in October, OEA Investigations Division Manager Bryan Jones said the office could only release final investigation reports per its policy, but confirmed the OEA had open cases in the Nelson County School District.

As of Oct. 31 there was no change in the status of the open cases with Nelson County Schools, but Jones said any final reports would be released to the Standard once ready.

The current cases are not the first involving the OEA and the county district. In 2015, the Office of Education Accountability issued a final investigation report for Nelson County School District regarding Bloomfield Middle School. According to that final report, the OEA completed an investigation into allegations against a former principal for not following district policy on the promotion of students to the next grade level. The report issued a resolution that the principal would immediately establish a promotion support team to provide support to struggling students at the middle school.