Monroe superintendent suspended for ‘toxic workplace’ to receive nearly $400,000 severance
Jul 19, 2022, 2:00 PM
The superintendent of Monroe School District, Justin Blasko, has announced he will resign following a series of accusations of creating a toxic workplace. The Monroe School Board approved the separation agreement, agreeing to pay $396,000 to Blasko for his resignation.
This agreement stipulates that Blasko won’t sue the school district or seek another job with them in exchange for the severance money.
Blasko was originally put on paid leave in December 2021 when several employees claimed that he used inappropriate language, bullied staff, and had multiple “sexist outbursts.”
After a months-long investigation into the matter, the school district has decided that the claims were credible enough to ask for Blasko’s resignation, says Tamara Krache, communications director for the Monroe School District.
“As publicly elected school board directors, we must protect the district and the taxpayers’ interests. As such, we want our community to understand that after much consultation with legal representation, we believe the separation agreement with Dr. Blasko was the best option for the district as a whole,” Krache said.
The district had three other options when handling the situation, as discussed in the school board meeting on July 18: they could allow Blasko to return as superintendent after developing an improvement plan, terminate Blasko for cause, or put Blasko on indefinite leave until the end of his contract in three years.
The decision to have a settlement was made because all the other options were determined to be worse. The district felt that returning Blasko to his post after the investigation was wrong, that risking litigation would take more time and resources, and paying out his $250,000 salary for three years would be too expensive.
“While Dr. Blasko will receive one year’s severance pay, which includes his full salary, cost of all benefits, and leave cashout, to be paid in full by August 31, 2022, this amount is significantly less than the amount that would have been owed under his existing three-year contract if no separation agreement was reached,” Krache said. “Most importantly, it also provides resolution so that we can move forward in a positive direction as a community.”
In response to the report, Blasko apologized and called the allegations against him “deeply troubling.” He is set to have his final day with the district on July 31.
Meanwhile, the board is looking for an interim superintendent to lead the district through the 2022-23 school year.