Montgomery County School Board Expressed Concerns Over Communication With Superintendent

Members of the Montgomery County School Board recently expressed concern about their ability to "communicate" with schools Superintendent Joshua Starr, according to school district memos obtained by the News-4 I-Team.

Starr’s future with the district is in doubt, with only 48 hours until a deadline for him to notify the board about his future.

Though board members have declined multiple requests to comment on whether they intend to keep Starr in his position, the I-Team has learned of some concerns about Starr held by board members from a memo issued by board leaders during the 2013-2014 school year.

The memo specifies, "The Board needs to work on ways and initiatives that provide more opportunities to communicate with the superintendent and offer both parties more clarity in expectations and improve upon relationships." The memo also says, "There should be more opportunities to have individual/small group conversations with the superintendent."

Pat O’Neill, the school board president, released a memo Friday saying any official deliberations about Starr’s future will be held in private, closed sessions.

O’Neill said, "The Board will notify the public of steps in this process as they are decided, and actions that must be taken publicly will, of course, be conducted in an open session."

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But no official board sessions are scheduled before the 11:59 p.m. deadline on Feb. 1 for a decision about Starr’s future, the I-Team has learned.

Starr released his own memo to the school board Jan. 22, detailing his accomplishments during his four year tenure in Montgomery County. He cites improved graduation rates, test scores and teacher relations.

The school district has declined comment on the board’s concerns about communication with the superintendent. They have also declined to make Starr available for an interview.

Starr’s social media messages indicate he was attending an education event at the White House Friday.

The Maryland State Department of Education said state superintendent Lillian Lowery has not been notified about Starr’s future. An agency official said Lowery is typically notified about potential local superintendent hirings, firings and separation agreements.

Starr is scheduled to appear at a Monday meeting of the Montgomery County Council.

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