Vincent to challenge dismissal by Trimble County schools

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The Trimble Banner

Former Trimble County educator and athletic coach Jeff Vincent will appeal his dismissal by the Trimble County School system under the provisions of Kentucky Statute KRS 161.790 regarding the “Termination of contract by board—Administrative hearing tribunal—Sanctions.

Lisa Y. Gross, Press Secretary, Kentucky Department of Education Division of Communications, confirmed Monday that an administrative tribunal hearing for Vincent has been scheduled.

“A tribunal hearing for Mr. Vincent has been set for April 26-27, at the Trimble County central office building, unless another location is preferred,” Gross said in an email.

Marcia Dunaway, Superintendent of Trimble County Schools, verified Monday that Vincent’s contract with the school system was terminated on Jan. 27, 2012. Vincent had been suspended with pay by Dunaway on June 20, 2011, stating she was “aware there is an investigation concerning possible criminal conduct by Jeff.”

The Kentucky State Police confirmed in July that Vincent was the target of an investigation then ongoing by the KSP Special Investigation Unit in Frankfort. The investigation involved a complaint by parents of a female student, alleging misconduct with their daughter and other female students.

Barry Moore, Commonwealth Attorney for Trimble County, told The Trimble Banner yesterday that based “on the things they (KSP) sent to me my office has not taken anything before a grand jury. There is no felony presented before me at this time.”

Moore said evidence and statements presented to him indicated that Vincent had a “consensual relationship” with a female but that “she was of age at that time. Since then the laws have changed.”

Moore said the KSP is still conducting “an ongoing investigation and I cannot comment further on any investigation that is ongoing.”

According to the provisions of state law regarding Vincent’s procedure to seek a tribunal hearing, “the commissioner of education shall appoint a three member tribunal, consisting of one teacher, who may be retired, one administrator, who may be retired, and one lay person, none of whom reside in the district, to conduct an administrative hearing in accordance with KRS Chapter 13B within the district. Priority for selection as a tribunal member shall be from a pool of potential tribunal members who have been designated and trained to serve as tribunal members on a regular and ongoing basis, pursuant to administrative regulations promulgated by the Kentucky Board of Education. Funds appropriated to the Department of Education for professional development may be used to provide tribunal member training. The commissioner of education shall name the chairman and set the date and time of the hearing.”

Upon hearing both sides of the case, the tribunal may by a majority vote render its decision or may defer its action for not more than five days, according to state statute. The tribunal decision shall be a final order and may be rendered on the record. If after the hearing the decision of the tribunal is against termination of the contract, the suspended teacher shall be paid his full salary for any period of suspension.

The teacher shall have the right to make an appeal to the Circuit Court having jurisdiction in the county where the school district is located in accordance with KRS Chapter 13B. The review of the final order shall be conducted by the Circuit Court as required by KRS 13B.150.

Citing the advice of the Trimble County Board of Education’s attorney, Dunaway declined Monday to comment on the hearing except to verify Vincent’s termination occurred in January.

A Trimble County High School graduate, Vincent began employment in the Trimble school district as a kindergarten teacher at Bedford Elementary School in 1998. In 2003, he became the BES counselor and served as the district migrant advocate from the beginning of his employment until his suspension last June. Vincent also served as head coach of the high school track and cross country programs for several years.

On Monday, Vincent on the advice of his attorney declined an invitation to comment on the hearing.