Bartlett High School principal to seek public hearing on accusation of changing grades

A Bartlett High School principal accused of changing grades will be seeking a public hearing before school board members, his attorney said Wednesday.

Michael Demovsky was placed on paid administrative leave on March 15 amid an investigation into some of his “administrative practices,” Elgin Area District U-46 officials said last month. School board members in March also approved a resolution changing his classification from principal to classroom teacher beginning next school year.

“The primary accusation is that he improperly changed student grades,” said Steven Glink, an attorney representing Demovsky. “We completely deny that.”

He said the grades in question were marks from the school’s credit recovery program, where students are given an opportunity to improve a low grade. Glink said any action Demovsky took was “in accordance with district policy.”

District officials on Wednesday declined to comment.

“At this time, we do not have further information about this personnel matter to share,” a district spokeswoman said in an email. “Once we have more information and are at a stage where we can share it, we will promptly communicate that to our community and the media.”

Bartlett High School Principal Michael Demovsky recently was placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into some of his “administrative practices.” Daily Herald file photo, 2018

Glink requested a private hearing with the school board, which was held Monday. Though Glink and Demovsky did not attend, Glink said he sent the board a letter stating their case. Board members Monday unanimously supported previous action and approved resolutions of nonrenewal for Demovsky’s contract as principal and another reclassifying him as a teacher, with a corresponding reduction in pay, effective at the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

At Monday’s meeting, board member Dawn Martin said that though discussions took place behind closed doors, as they do for personnel issues, board members have reviewed the relevant material.

“Things like this, we don’t take lightly,” Martin said. “Whenever we’re discussing personnel matters, there’s a lot of discussion, a lot of reviewing of facts and making sure we’re taking all of students, staff and community … just making sure we’re thinking about everyone before we make these decisions.”

In a letter dated March 22, Glink said the board’s notice of reclassification was disappointing and that it was “filled with false conclusions and a serious misstatement of facts.” In that same letter, obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information request, Glink wrote that if the board decides to proceed with reclassifying Demovsky from principal to classroom teacher, his client will ask for a public hearing as allowed by law. On Wednesday, Glink said he would be allowed to call community members to testify on Demovsky’s behalf in a public hearing.

“From my understanding, Mr. Demovsky is one of the most popular principals in U-46 ever,” Glink said.

At the March 18 school board meeting, a parent and a student spoke in defense of Demovsky. Bartlett High School junior Emily Guadarrama, who is a member of the principal student advisory group, described Demovsky as one of the “best principals Bartlett High School has ever had.”

“Principal Demovsky takes the time to get to know the students individually,” she said as she encouraged the board to consider his career as a whole.

Melanie Meidel, who served as a high school principal and assistant superintendent in U-46 before retiring, is serving as interim principal at Bartlett High School for the remainder of the school year.

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