CRIPPLE CREEK • Nearly six months after being suspended, Cripple Creek-Victor School District RE-1 Superintendent Les Lindauer has lost his job.
The district’s five-member Board of Education voted 3-0 with two members recusing themselves Wednesday night to terminate Lindauer for “good and just cause,” citing the results of an administrative hearing held last month before retired judge David Crockenberg, who acted as arbiter.
The board had brought 13 allegations against Lindauer, detailing actions they said violated district policy and procedures. One involving a pornographic website on his computer was later dropped.
Lindauer requested the hearing, as his contract allowed, to respond to the board’s allegations.
Board members said Lindauer intimidated and threatened board members with accusations of election fraud, verbally attacked staff and parents, acted unilaterally in hiring employees and giving raises, lied about his whereabouts, violated the confidentiality of closed executive sessions and committed other infractions.
Of the charges, the arbiter found that eight did not rise to the level of “good and just cause” for termination, but four did.
Among the arbiter’s findings were that election fraud was unsupported by the evidence presented, Lindauer’s explanations for his whereabouts on a particular day were not credible and he failed to leave anyone in charge, there were inconsistencies with board policy in granting pay raises and he displayed unprofessionalism in leadership.
The termination relieves the board of paying the full two years remaining on Lindauer’s contract under which he was paid $108,000 per year.
Lindauer addressed three members before they discussed his employment status in a private executive session. Board President Tim Braun and Treasurer Dennis Jones recused themselves from both Lindauer’s address and the executive session, saying, because they testified as witnesses during the hearing, they considered it a conflict of interest to be involved in the decision.
Lindauer said in his four years as superintendent he had never asked for a raise and had only been reviewed once, in the first year.
“No one has ever talked to me formally or informally about anything I should have improved on,” he said. “If the board had concerns about my performance or actions, they should have addressed them immediately.
“I should have been given the opportunity to address their concerns and make amends, if there really were problems.”
Lindauer outlined his accomplishments since he was hired in 2014, including keeping the city library on school property instead of it being moved off-site, saving the school-based health center from closure and opening the services to the community, refinancing $10 million in bond debt to a lower interest rate, and securing cash and commitments of $375,000 from Newmont Mining to build a voc-tech program.
“I believe I deserve the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “I ask the board to put aside personal conflicts and find there is not a good and just cause to terminate me.”
The board also ousted the school district’s previous superintendent, Sue Holmes, who now is superintendent of the Falcon Zone in School District 49, east of Colorado Springs.
The board likely will decide what to do about the superintendent position at its next meeting, said member Don Daniel. Tory Richey, principal of the junior-senior high school, is acting superintendent.