Thomas resigns as New Highland principal

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Former administrator removed from post in mid-May

By Kelly Cantrall

Mark Thomas, former principal of New Highland Elementary School, has tendered a resignation from the position. Thomas was removed from the post in mid-May after being suspended with pay during a district investigation into alleged wrongdoing.

Hardin County Schools was involved in “administrative adjudication” with Thomas as of June 6, according to a letter to The News-Enterprise from the law office of Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike.

John Wright, HCS spokesman, said the issue has yet to be fully resolved.

The News-Enterprise is waiting for receipt of documents regarding Thomas’ removal from his former position. Because of the ongoing nature of the case, the district isn’t obligated to release the documents under Kentucky open records laws. Once the case is closed, however, the district plans to release more information, according to the attorneys.

While Thomas had been removed from his position, district officials didn’t confirm at the time he had been terminated. According to Kentucky Revised Statute 161.790, when a superintendent decides to terminate a contract, the school board must be notified and charges against the employee must be put in writing. The employee then has 10 days to answer the charges.

If the charges go unanswered, the contract is terminated. However, if the charges are answered, a tribunal is formed to evaluate the termination decision, state law requires. The tribunal is made up of a teacher, an administrator and a community member. The hearing must be scheduled within 45 days.

The employee can appeal the decision to the circuit court, according to KRS.

Thomas couldn’t be reached for comment, but he previously said allegations against him were untrue.

The district is searching for a new principal for New Highland.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.