Groton - The termination hearing for Superintendent of Schools Paul Kadri is taking longer than expected.
Proceedings were slated for completion by Dec. 20, the last of four scheduled hearing dates, but testimony is not finished. Instead, Jan. 7 and Jan. 15 have been reserved as hearing dates, though it is unclear whether both will be needed.
Kadri has not run the school district since May, shortly after allegations surfaced that he mistreated employees and the Board of Education placed him on paid leave.
An investigation commissioned by the board led to interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees. The investigation revealed more claims of intimidating, abusive and hostile treatment by Kadri, mostly toward female school district employees. Kadri has denied the allegations.
Acting on the report, the school board notified Kadri in September that it would consider his termination, citing "unprofessional and unethical behavior," among the reasons.
School board member Robert Peruzzotti said he has observed all of the testimony to date, though board members are not allowed to ask questions. The school board agreed to let an independent arbitrator, Timothy Bornstein, preside over the hearing and determine whether there are grounds for termination. Kadri requested the arbitrator in light of what he called bias on the school board, which the board denies.
Once the hearings are completed, the sides will have two weeks to file briefs. Bornstein, according to the agreement, will render a decision within 30 days after that.
"I'm looking forward to getting past this so we know where we stand," Peruzzotti said. "I think we'd all like to see it over. We've got a lot of work to get done in the district."
Costs for the hearing have not been compiled, though Kadri has agreed to pay $500 per hearing for the arbitrator, with the school board paying the balance.
Under his current contract, which expires in June 2014, Kadri earns a base salary of $167,475. Interim Superintendent John Ramos is earning $721.88 a day, which is based on a pro-rated base salary of $167,475 over 232 days, from Oct. 1 through June 30.