Settlement reached with former ASDB superintendent

2014-02-14T15:00:00Z 2014-02-14T20:19:16Z Settlement reached with former ASDB superintendentBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind’s governing board has approved a settlement with Superintendent Robert Hill.

Details of the settlement approved Thursday by ASDB’s governing board were not available.

Hill was paid $125,000 a year and had about a year left on his contract, according to school officials.

The agency hasn’t yet to begin the process of searching for a new superintendent. School officials are awaiting the outcome of a proposed state Senate bill that would give the governing board more flexibility in hiring for the post, said board President Michael Williams.

The bill would allow the board to hire a superintendent who doesn’t have a specialized background in the education of the deaf or blind, Williams said.

The next superintendent should have strong administrative skills such as managing the agency’s budget, handling transportation needs and listening to recommendations from principals and teachers, he said.

Principals and teachers should run the schools, he said.

“Parents should not go to the superintendent with problems” regarding school related issues, he said. “They should go to the principals.”

The agency could hire two superintendents, one to oversee the blind program and another for the deaf school.

Hill had been criticized for poor leadership and a lack of communication with students, staffers and parents.

He was placed on administrative leave in October as the school investigated his conduct toward five employees who accused him of harassment and discrimination.

The report cleared Hill of any wrongdoing. However, former Assistant Superintendent Nancy Amann, one of the employees who filed a complaint that led to the investigation, is suing the school, saying Hill retaliated against her after she filed a separate grievance against him.

In addition, a separate investigation released in November from the state auditor general faulted Hill and other school officials for tallying almost $10,000 in inappropriate travel expenses over three years. Hill accounted for about $8,700 of those costs.

Hill also received scrutiny for a possible conflict of interest with former board President Bernhardt Jones for their involvement with a company that administers an assessment test for classroom interpreters.

The series of investigations and complaints began last spring amid student protests after the school suspended its agricultural program and fired a popular teacher.

Assistant Superintendent Bill Koehler was appointed interim superintendent in October.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at jyounger@azstarnet.com or 573-4242. On Twitter: @JamarYounger

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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