Kalkaska Superintendent Put On Paid Leave

The Superintendent at Kalkaska schools is out of jail on bond and now on paid administrative leave.

Thursday he was charged with falsely reporting a felony and intentionally making a false report of child abuse. He also faces a charge of slander.

Many people in the small Kalkaska community find the allegations hard to believe: their school Superintendent faces two felonies.

A former student, Hannah Beaudry, is one of those speaking out supporting him.

“He is one of the main reasons of why I went into education, and why I chose to be an elementary school teacher, is because of Terry Starr,” she says.

Starr has been the superintendent in Kalkaska since the middle of 2018. Prior to that, he was in the Elk Rapids School District where he was hired on in the year 2000.

State Police believe that’s when he made false allegations against a fellow Elk Rapids school employee.

Beaudry says, “I’ve known Mr. Starr since first grade going into Elk Rapids schools. He was my principal all through middle school.”

State Police believe Starr was the author of several anonymous letters sent to Elk Rapids School administrators in January of 2018, accusing another employee there of child abuse.

The anonymous letters even led to the filing of a suspected child abuse report with the Department of Health and Human Services.

State Police looked into it and say those allegations against the other staff member were unfounded. And they believe Starr wrote and then sent the anonymous letters.

Kalkaska resident Thelma Wood says, “If he is guilty I hope he gets punished. But if he’s not then I hope he gets exonerated and he can still keep his job, you know you’re innocent until proven guilty.”

Beaudry believes in her heart of hearts Starr didn’t do it.

“Because I know his character so well, I absolutely don’t believe the allegations,” she says. “Because of the man that I know that he is and his reputation that he’s built.”

Starr is on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.

Starr’s attorney says his client is shocked by the allegations.

Starr is out of jail on bond – and while he’s on paid leave, the Kalkaska Middle School principal will serve as acting superintendent.

Wood says, “I hope it doesn’t take long to sort it out. We need every person for those position as many of them there for the job they’re supposed to be doing.”

The school board President says Starr has done some great things in the district, and she’s hoping for the best outcome.