ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – A school board member for Anderson School District 2 confirmed that the district’s superintendent has been placed on administrative leave.
Board member Kevin Craft confirmed that Dr. Richard Rosenberger was placed on administrative leave following the board’s Monday night meeting.
Craft said the board had voted back in March to demote Tara Brice, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instructions, as well as Beth Dabney, an instructional technology coach, back to being teachers in the district.
“Dr. Rosenberger made a statement at the end of the meeting that he was not going to follow the board’s majority vote that was 4 to 3 to demote Tara Brice and Beth Dabney, and he walked out of the board meeting,” Craft said. “I voted against the demoting (of) Tara Brice and Beth Dabney. I was in the minority.”
Craft said he didn’t understand the board’s reasoning on why the motion was made to demote Brice and Dabney.
“There were no prior discussion about their job performance,” Craft said. “They had no formal … bad reprimands or bad information about their job performance that I know of, and we were totally surprised that they would make the motion.”
“I’ve never received any type of negative evaluation. And I’ve never got anything from them stating why this is a necessity,” said Dabney.
Craft said teachers or principals are given a one year improvement plan if they are not meeting requirements, but said to his knowledge neither of that had been done with Brice or Dabney.
Board Chair Brenda Cooley released a statement on Friday:
Unfortunately, as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for Anderson School District Two, I was placed in a situation where I had to make a very difficult decision concerning Superintendent Dr. Richard Rosenberger. This action was taken as a result of Dr. Rosenberger informing the board at our regularly scheduled Board meeting on April 20, 2020 that he was not going to honor/ implement a majority Board vote from the March 9, 2020 Board meeting. As a result, I had no alternative but to place him on administrative leave with full salary and benefits which I, as Board Chair and on behalf of the Board of Trustees, have the authority to do as is stated in his signed employment agreement (contract) with Anderson School District Two.
In the interim, Mr. Lester McCall will be leading the district office as well as working with the Board of Trustees. I have great confidence in Mr. McCall’s ability to accept this assignment, and he will be kept well- informed by the State Department of Education to ensure that all district matters are appropriately handled. Please know that our district Board of Trustees will continue to make every effort to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students, teachers, and parents.Anderson School District Two Board Chair Brenda Cooley
Craft confirmed that Brenda Cooley sent an email to board members about her decision to put Rosenberger on paid administrative leave after he refused to honor the board’s vote.
According to Craft, Rosenberger has authority over administrative positions, not the board.
“That is the reason he chose not to move them because the majority vote did not consult with him about positions of his staff and violated board policy by not addressing this with him,” Craft said. “And he feels like he should not do it at this time.”
“I had no idea it was coming. And I had no idea that Dr. Rosenberger was going to stand up for us and the rest of the employees in the district, the way he did,” Dabney said.
Craft added that he hopes “the board sees fit to bring Dr. Rosenberger back and work this out. This is not the time to be doing this with the Coronavirus.”