ASDB superintendent placed on administrative leave

2013-10-24T21:00:00Z 2013-10-24T22:25:05Z ASDB superintendent placed on administrative leaveBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Governing Board placed Superintendent Robert Hill on administrative leave Thursday .

The board made the decision after reviewing a report detailing complaints filed by four employees filed against Hill earlier this year, which led to an investigation of the superintendent.

The board also approved  releasing the report to the public and working with attorneys on creating a notice of allegations and notice of possible employment action against Hill.

Board member Orlenda Roberts was the only vote against placing Hill on administrative leave and against creating the notices of allegations and of possible employment action.

Hill will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations at the next board meeting, which will likely  be held Nov. 5.

Acting Assistant Superintendent William Koehler will take over for Hill at the school, 1200 W. Speedway.

The board placed Hill on leave just as many parents, students and employees said they were growing uneasy with the length of the investigation.

The board held two meetings in Phoenix last month after the report was released, but did not make any decisions regarding Hill’s future.

Board President Michael Williams said at the time the discussions could be a long process, citing the length of the report.

However, that did not assuage the concerns of many people involved with the school, who said the process was starting to detract from the school’s mission  and was taking an emotional toll on those involved.

Some  people expressed their concerns during the meeting’s call to the audience on Thursday, before the decision was made.

“I’m just asking the board to do what is best. No matter what decision the board makes tonight, there’s still going to be a lot of damage that needs to be corrected,” said parent Rob Voreck.

Lisa Jackson, an employee at the school, said it should be easy to determine whether Hill did anything illegal.

“This endless investigation is drawing attention away from our students. Either the superintendent did something illegal or he did not,” Jackson said. “Can the board please explain why no action has been taken?”

The board decided to hire a law firm in May after the employees filed the complaints against Hill.

Hill and former board President Bernhardt Jones are also under scrutiny from the state for a potential conflict of interest regarding their involvement with an interpreter-training program and for allegedly excessive travel expenses.

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

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