MONTPELIER -- Mystery continues to shroud the recent termination of a St. Johnsbury School principal.

Late last month, the state Board of Education denied the education commissioner's request to suspend former St. Johnsbury School Principal Janet Haley's educator's license.

"Upon the evidence presented, the board has not found that the public health, safety or welfare imperatively requires emergency action," states the order on Commissioner Richard Cate's motion for summary suspension, signed by Vermont Board of Education Chairman Tom James on March 24.

The ruling came after the board heard evidence from both sides at a meeting March 21, according to the order.

Officials at the Vermont Department of Education cannot comment on the reason for Cate's request or any other details surrounding Haley because the issues might come up in future litigation, said Mark Oettinger, general council for the department.

St. Johnsbury School Director Bruce Corrette said this is actually the second time Cate tried to get Haley's license revoked, and was denied.

"It's not good for the Department of Education to lose things like that," Corrette said. "If the commissioner loses one more, he's in trouble."

Corrette speculates that somebody is pushing the commissioner to take action against Haley. "One person wants Janet Haley's hide," he said.

Corrette, though, agrees with the ruling from the state board of education and said it was good the commissioner's request was denied.

"The board, I think, had a duty to do and they did it," Corrette said.

The state board also ruled that records in the matter regarding Haley shall be maintained under seal because they contain materials, such as student records or certain disciplinary materials relating to an individual, that are exempt from disclosure, according to the order.

As for the St. Johnsbury School Board, Corrette said the state did notify the board of the recent ruling, but in general, school directors have been left in the dark.

"We tried to get involved recently and they said, ÔNo,'" Corrette said. "If the department wants to continue to play games, let them."

On June 3 last year, Haley was placed on paid administrative leave during an emergency meeting. Her contract was terminated in November.

Neither school directors, nor the state have stated publicly why Haley was placed on administrative leave and eventually terminated.


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