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Moses Lake superintendent placed on admin leave

by JOEL MARTIN
Staff Writer | May 14, 2024 8:11 PM

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake School Board voted in a special meeting Tuesday to place Superintendent Monty Sabin on administrative leave. Assistant Superintendent Carol Lewis was named acting superintendent at the same meeting.

The decision was made at a special meeting attended by about 20 community members. The meeting was open to the public, but following the Pledge of Allegiance the board members immediately went into an executive session, which lasted 30 minutes. The vote took place upon their return to the public meeting.

Voting were Board President Kirryn Jensen and Board Members Paul Hill, Amy Breitenstein and Carla Urias. Board member Kevin Fuhr was not present. 

Sabin was also absent as was Chief Operations Officer Jeremy O’Neill. 

Lewis, Executive Director of Secondary Education Triscia Hochstatter and Executive Director of Elementary Education Roberta Mason were in attendance.

Sabin was hired in March 2022 with a three-year contract, which went into effect July 1 of that year, at a salary of $255,000 per year. That contract was extended in January 2023 to run through August 2026. Under the terms of the contract, if he is let go without cause, the district is obligated to pay him either 18 months’ salary or the balance of his salary for the remaining time.

All four board members declined to comment on the vote, which was unanimous among the members in attendance.

The board’s move comes amid controversy over district finances, including the failure of the Educational Programs & Operations Levy and an $11 million accounting error. The accounting error was detected May 2, according to information from the district, but it was not immediately clear when the errors actually occurred. As a result of the district’s financial difficulties, the board voted in a special meeting Saturday not to renew the contracts of about 100 teachers. Additional layoffs and program cuts are expected. 

Northwest Leadership Associates was paid $17,800 plus expenses to help MLSD identify candidates in 2022. Sabin was hired after that search.

Joel Martin may be reached via email at jmartin@columbiabasinherald.com.

    Moses Lake School District Assistant Superintendent Carol Lewis was named acting superintendent at a special meeting of the Moses Lake School Board Tuesday.
 
 
    From left: Moses Lake School Board Member Amy Brieitenstein, Member Carla Urias, President Kirryn Jensen and Member Paul Hill voted unanimously at a special meeting Tuesday to place Superintendent Monty Sabin on administrative leave.