Milton Superintendent Garrow to get paid leave
MILTON It's no longer a question whether the Milton School District is paying Superintendent Mike Garrow while he takes the rest of the school year off on administrative leave.
He's being paid, school board President Rob Roy confirmed Monday.
The board has released few details about Garrow's leave since he bowed out Oct. 15 after his father's death and amid several closed sessions on his employment.
On Monday, Roy was cryptic about details of Garrow's leave. For the third time in three weeks, Roy declined to say whether the leave involves discipline or performance.
"I'd love to hold a press conference and just tell everybody everything, but right now, it's just not going to happen," Roy said.
He told The Gazette in a phone interview that it could be early next week before the district gives more information.
That's when the district expects it will be legally allowed to release records requested by The Gazette last week seeking details of Garrow's leave along with his employment reviews and his full contract.
Under law, Roy said, Garrow has time to review and add information to personnel records that The Gazette has requested. To comply with state law, Garrow must turn the materials over to the district by the end of this week at the latest, Roy said.
At that time, the district will be in a better position to field public inquiries about the leave, he said.
"Once you see the documents, you'll have a whole lot more questions. (But) you'll have a better understanding of exactly what's going on and why I'm so reluctant to speak with you," Roy said.
Normally, the superintendent is the district's public liaison. In Garrow's absence, Roy said, district administrators are being told to defer to him on inquiries about Garrow's leave.
Roy indicated that the matter is sensitive and that an attorney is advising the board.
"We don't want anybody to say something that's going to create a bigger mess than what we've got," Roy said.
Residents have been told that Garrow will be on an "approved administrative leave of absence" through June 30. Garrow wrote in a statement that the leave has allowed him to deal with his father's death.
Going forward, the leave will allow him to "pursue his dreams," Garrow wrote.
Residents do not know how much the district is paying Garrow or the details of the leave, including whether staff members are being paid extra to fill in for Garrow. The board and Garrow agreed to the leave last week.
The district is grappling with class sizes in some of its schools and recently had to make room in its budget to add professional staff to take the strain off students and teachers in crowded classrooms.
Garrow's annual pay is $122,000, according to district records, but it's not clear if that's what he'll be paid on leave.
Roy said Garrow has accrued time off tied to benefits, and that could absorb some of the cost.
"He has access to personal leave, sick leave, vacation time," Roy said. "Those days will obviously be used in part of this."
Meanwhile, the district met in closed session this week to discuss appointing an interim superintendent.
Roy said there are several internal candidates for the job. Whoever is hired will be paid for the duties of a superintendent, he said.
"We'll go through a semi-normal hiring process and do some checking, and if there's a consensus, we'll have a contract to vote on the 26th (of November)," Roy said.
For now, administrators at the central office are sharing Garrow's workload.
As far as anybody knows—even Garrow, apparently—it's not clear if Garrow will return.
In an interview with The Gazette outside his home last week, Garrow said he was not sure, although he said he had no other employment.
Roy was mum Monday on the prospect of Garrow's return.
"I can't comment on that," he said.