A tentative date has been set for an appeals hearing in the case of fired MorganOwingsElementary School teacher K.C. Craven. Craven was notified of his termination in a certified letter sent to him on October 13th by Lake Chelan School District Superintendent Rob Manahan.
The official “Notice of Probable Cause for Discharge” started the clock in an appeals process that grants all certified employees, including school teachers, the right to an appeal before an appointed hearing officer. A tentative timeline for the hearing has been set for the week of May 14th though May 18th 2012.
Craven, who taught 4th grade at Morgan Owings for several years, was originally placed on paid administrative leave in March pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct. School Superintendent Rob Manahan told Kozi News the school district retained attorney Richard Kaiser with the Reynolds Burton Law firm to conduct the investigation.
Specific allegations made against Craven included “quote”..
“Engaging in inappropriate sexual advances and other sexual behavior with and towards students,”
“Providing alcohol to students and/or non-student minors and/or allowing students and/or non-student minors to drink alcohol at your home;”
“Engaging in boundary invasion behaviors with students, including but not limited to inappropriately touching students”
In the October 13th letter of discharge to Craven, Chelan School Superintendent Manahan wrote;
“Based on my careful and deliberate review of the investigation, including the information gathered in the meeting with you, I find that that you indeed engaged in the misconduct described to you in the meeting and as described above.”
The letter to Craven served as official notification of termination. Mr. Craven immediately exercised his legal right to appeal the discharge and remains on the district payroll and eligible for all employee benefits. Manahan said the district is following state law.
In addition to Mr. Cravens salary the school district is also responsible for all fees and expenses of the appointed hearing officer throughout the appeal process. The hearing officer has the authority to issue subpoenas and can consider pre-hearing depositions. The hearing is subject to the same rules of evidence applicable to the Washington Superior Court but does not determine criminal guilt or innocence, only if the employment discharge was justifiable or not. The hearing examiner has ten days to render a final decision once the hearing has concluded.
That however is not the final word on the matter. Mr. Craven has further appeal opportunities to pursue should the hearing examiner rule the discharge was justifiable under state law. Again the burden of proof falls on the school district as does the financial responsibility. As costs mount we asked Manahan if it wouldn’t be better a business move to perhaps reach some kind of a financial settlement with Mr. Craven.
Tune in tomorrow when we update you on the criminal investigation into Mr. Craven as well as what may happen on the civil side of the law.