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Grant administrator resigns after complaint

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Ron Kinmon resigned his position as director of operations for the Grant County School District effective June 20, 2011, after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him by a bus driver.

Kinmon worked for the district in a variety of capacities including teacher, boy’s basketball coach and principal. As director of operations, he was the supervisor of the bus drivers and maintenance staff.

The complaint was filed with former superintendent Michael Hibbett on April 13, 2011. Following an investigation by Hibbett and Donald J. Ruberg, attorney for the Grant County Board of Education, Kinmon was removed as director of operations on April 15.

The Grant County News obtained a report of the bus driver’s complaint, the district’s investigation, Kinmon’s resignation letter and settlement agreement after filing three open records request for the documents.

The district denied the News’ request while the investigation was ongoing, but turned the documents over on July 21.

When Kinmon and the bus driver, whom the school district declined to name, were originally questioned about the relationship, the report says both of them denied it.  

Following the bus driver’s complaint and subsequent interview by Hibbett and Ruberg, the report says both admitted to a “mutually consensual sexual and emotional relationship” which occurred between August and November 2010 while at work and included phone calls and texting.

In the complaint, the driver said “I feel that I have been subjected to sexual harassment and that sections 2 and 3 of Grant County Board Policy 0-3.363 were violated by my supervisor, Mr. Ron Kinmon.”

Board policy prohibits sexual harassment.

Rather than be terminated, Kinmon was given the opportunity to resign at the end of the  2010-2011 school year.
Kinmon and the bus driver agreed to keep the terms of the settlement agreement confidential.

Mark Hudson, former director of operations, was hired to finish out the school year. He’s also been hired in the same position for the 2011-2012 school year. Kinmon was hired as Hudson’s replacement in 2010.

Kinmon submitted his resignation letter on May 12, 2011.

While employed with Grant County schools, he worked first as a classroom teacher and was the Grant County High School boy’s basketball coach for 15 years. He served as principal of Eagle Creek Learning Center for three years before accepting the job as director of operations.

“It is with great dismay that I must inform you that I will be resigning from Grant County Schools on June 20, 2011 due to personal reasons. I have enjoyed my 14 ½ years of service with the district, but feel that it is time for me to move on to a new challenge,” Kinmon said in his resignation letter.

As part of the settlement, the school district offered to pay for counseling for the bus driver.

The report also stated that “although X, the bus driver, engaged in misconduct in this matter, it was decided that no disciplinary action would be taken against her.”

Employees of the school district, according to Ruberg’s report, were also informed not to discuss the situation or they could face disciplinary action.

“The affair between Kinmon and X has been the subject of a great deal of conversation and speculation, both within the school community and the community as a whole,” Ruberg’s report said.

The district’s report was submitted to the Education Professional Standards Board.

The Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all cases of educator misconduct. Kentucky statute KRS 161.028 says that the EPSB has the authority to suspend or revoke the certificates of educators that engage in misconduct, or impose other conditions that protect the safety of students, and the integrity of the profession. EPSB annually processes more than 300 disciplinary cases and 250 character and fitness cases.

A spokesperson for the EPSB declined to comment.