School board changes supt.’s status to unpaid

Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

Review file photo

Kalkaska Public Schools Superintendent Terry Starr was hired as the district’s top administrator in July 2018. He previously served as an elementary and middle school principal for 18 years with Elk Rapids Public Schools.


KALKASKA – Already facing alleged criminal charges, Kalkaska Public Schools Superintendent Terry Starr now faces another challenge. He won’t be getting paid, at least not from KPS.

KPS school board members at a June 24 meeting – in closed session – reviewed options presented to them by their legal counsel related to Starr’s status.

The school board had previously moved to place Starr on paid administrative leave in mid-April and appointed Kalkaska Middle School principal Staci Short as acting superintendent after Starr, who took over as the district’s top administrator in July 2018, was arrested on felony charges for allegedly falsely reporting a felony and failure to report child abuse. The charges date back to his tenure at Elk Rapids Public Schools.

But, with no quick conclusion to Starr’s legal battle in sight, KPS board members more recently took steps to allow Short to focus on her duties as principal by hiring, or rehiring, retired school administrator Lee Sandy on an interim basis. Sandy served KPS in the similar role from 2006 to 2014.

And, at the June 24 meeting, school board members approved changing Starr’s status to an unpaid leave of absence. That reportedly was at Starr’s request, according to one board member. 

While he won’t be receiving a regular paycheck, the board agreed to continue to pay for Starr’s health insurance through September.

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