Henrico School Board promises answers, just not right now - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Henrico School Board promises answers, just not right now

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Henrico School Board members promise answers to the recent shake up in leadership.  But they say they just can't answer our questions right now.

Superintendent Doctor Patrick Russo is on paid leave and there are reports a board member has quit.

A paragraph from Dr. Russo's contract states: "In the event the Board determines that the performance of the Superintendent is unsatisfactory in any respect, it shall describe to him, in reasonable detail, specific instances of unsatisfactory performance and include recommendations for improvement."  But there is nothing that plainly states why a superintendent would be put on paid leave.

Meanwhile, phone calls and emails to Dr. Russo and board member Diana Winston have not been returned. NBC12 went to their homes, but no answer. 

Dr. Russo is now on paid annual leave, the decision coming on the eve the board was set to discuss an extension on his contract.  When NBC12 asked for the board to elaborate, this was the answer Thursday night for school board chair, Beverly Cocke, "Several concerns have been brought forward to us regarding the superintendent and we as a school board are committed into looking into the matter."

NBC12 asked the County Manager's office for comment.  A spokesperson said the county government can't speak on school matters.  However, NBC12 did notice Dr. Russo is no longer on an informational video about the Henrico meals tax.  A county spokesperson says the video has been this way for a week and has nothing to do with the recent shake up.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Russos and Winstons have a close relationship.  Mr. Winston's business has a contract with the school system since before Dr. Russo was hired. The paper also reports of alleged inappropriate emails on Dr. Russo's work computer.

The next Henrico School Board monthly meeting is August 22 at 6:30 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.

Click here to see Russo's employment agreement: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wwbt/PDF/Russo%20Contract.pdf

Related story: 12 Investigates: History of Dr. Russo


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