PERU — School board leadership says Peru Central School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Palmer is not available. It appears his absence is not voluntary.

The district's board of education held a special meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, during which an executive session was convened "to discuss the employment history of a particular person and current litigation," according to the meeting minutes.

Following the session, which lasted about an hour and 45 minutes, the board unanimously voted to adopt a resolution placing a district employee on administrative leave "pending the conclusion of an investigation, until further action by the board."

A subsequent resolution appointed Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services Scott Storms as acting superintendent of schools "at a stipend of an additional $150.00 per day, during any period in which the superintendent of schools is unavailable or on leave."

The Press-Republican reached out to Board of Education President Bonnie Berry asking if Palmer was the employee placed on leave, what she could say about the nature of the investigation and who is conducting it, and when Storms assumed his role as acting superintendent.

In a statement, she did not confirm whether Palmer was the employee in question.

"The district is investigating allegations of policy violations, and has taken recommended steps to permit a smooth return to school," she said.

"On any personnel matters, the district must preserve the rights of everyone involved and we are limited as to what we can discuss at this time. The school district’s priority is to ensure our students have the best school year possible, and our faculty and staff are working tirelessly on that goal.”

Citing how personnel issues are confidential, Berry said all she could say was that Palmer was not available.

Palmer has been the district's superintendent of schools since January 2018.

According to a salary disclosure statement posted on the district's website, Palmer's salary for the 2021-22 school year is $189,195. Total salary and employer contributions, including social security, retirement and health insurance, come to $251,264.89.

Email Cara Chapman:

Twitter: @PPR_carachapman

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