HOOVER_CHRIS

“As of right now, I don’t have any knowledge or idea of how long she’ll be on the payroll regardless of if she runs out of leave or not.”

Former principal missed part of 173 days during her tenure

Maquoketa Community School District employee Christine Snell will run out of sick days next month and is not likely to return to work, according to Superintendent Chris Hoover. 

That does not mean, however, the district will stop paying her salary.

“As of right now, I don’t have any knowledge or idea of how long she’ll be on the payroll regardless of if she runs out of leave or not,” Hoover said.

Questions about why the former middle school principal is no longer working and why she is still being paid remain unanswered.

Snell spent August 2018 on sick leave, according

to information obtained through an open records request. Hoover said she had at least 26 days of sick leave still to use as of Sept. 7.

Snell did not return to her duties as middle school principal at the start of the 2018-19 school year. She is being paid a salary of $89,849 as the principal.

On Aug. 3, Hoover announced the district had hired Amanda Bonjour to fill the principal position on an interim basis. The announcement followed an executive session in which the district interviewed four candidates for the job. At that time, Hoover declined to say whether Snell was still employed by the district and whether she was coming back to work. 

Five days later, after the Sentinel-Press delivered an open records request to the district, Hoover acknowledged through email that Snell was still on the public payroll, but he would not elaborate on her status or duties.

Per their contracts, Maquoketa teachers and administrators receive 15 days of paid sick leave each school year, Hoover said in an email response to the Sentinel’s second open records request. In that request, the newspaper asked for the dates Snell used leave since she was hired as principal in 2009. 

Teachers and administrators can accrue up to 150 paid days of sick leave in their tenure. In addition to sick leave, teachers and administrators are paid for three days of personal leave; up to 10 days of family sick leave, which is subtracted from their sick leave; and five days of bereavement pay for immediate family and one day for others, all in the course of their 220-day contract.

Snell was absent for at least part of 173 days during her nine years as principal, according to her absence report requested by the Sentinel-Press. That total does not include the 23 days of sick leave she used last month.

Snell still has sick leave plus other time off available, Hoover said Friday. 

But even if Snell uses all that time off, Hoover said it is unlikely she would return to work for the district.

“When her leave runs out I would not expect her to be returning,” Hoover said.

According to Snell’s Facebook page, she was at a local vineyard Aug. 31, when she was listed on sick leave. Her Facebook page also showed she spent the first week of September in Nashville, Tennessee, visiting various entertainment venues and bars.

Snell has repeatedly declined to comment.