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Two deputy superintendents with the Bozeman School District were formally elevated to interim co-superintendents, as Superintendent Bob Connors remains on administrative leave pending a performance review.

The school board approved Marilyn King, deputy superintendent of instruction, and Casey Bertram, deputy superintendent of curriculum and technology, to serve as co-superintendents.

The contract changes were included in a slate of personnel actions voted on in Monday’s board meeting. The personnel actions passed unanimously.

The reason for their contract changes was cited as “additional temporary administrative responsibilities” in the documents.

King and Bertram’s contract changes added an additional $71/day for both of them. According to the personnel documents, the changes were effective Oct. 19 and will end no later than June 30, 2021.

Board Chairperson Sandy Wilson told the Chronicle on Thursday that the board is moving forward but does not have a defined timeframe “except as soon as we can get this done.”

“There is no plan to have another executive session at this time and may not be needed,” she said.

The actions included the retirement Steve Johnson, a deputy superintendent who has worked with the district for the last 35 years. He will retire on Dec. 31. In the last month, Johnson has also filled in during Connors absence, alongside King and Bertram.

Connors has been on paid administrative leave since Nov. 2, when the school board called a special meeting on an alleged policy violation. At the time the meeting was called it was not clear Connors was involved.

The school board has held two closed executive sessions on an alleged policy violation involving Connors. The first one lasted about seven hours. The most recent one, held on Nov. 16 date, lasted about two hours.

At the start of each meeting, Board Chairperson Sandy Wilson has moved it to an executive session, saying it related “to a matter of individual privacy that clearly exceeds the merits of public disclosure.”

When the board returned from the Nov. 16 closed session, Wilson said they would schedule another executive session if needed and Connors would remain on paid administrative leave.

The school board has declined to release additional details on the alleged policy violation or Connors’ performance review.

In a lawsuit filed on Nov. 20, the Chronicle is seeking meeting records and documents in connection with Connors and his paid administrative leave.

The lawsuit, filed in Gallatin County District Court, states the public has a right to examine and obtain a copy of any public information of a governmental entity, including Bozeman Public Schools.

“Public employees such as Superintendent Connors who occupy positions of trust have no legitimate right of privacy to matters involving their duties… To the extent Superintendent has a recognizable privacy interest, his interest does not clearly exceed the public’s right to know,” the lawsuit said.

Connors has been the district’s superintendent for the last year-and-a-half.

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Liz Weber can be reached at lweber@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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