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Tenured Billings teacher fired by the district for poor performance

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Kramlich (MTN News Photo) Kramlich (MTN News Photo)
(MTN News Photo) (MTN News Photo)
BILLINGS -

A tenured Billings middle school teacher was fired by School District 2 on Wednesday.

Mark Kramlich, a history teacher in the district since 2008, was terminated by the board of trustees for poor performance.

Kramlich alleged workplace bullying by school administrators and SD2 Superintendent Terry Bouck.

The four hour hearing at the Lincoln Center reviewed his performance as a teacher in the district.

"Mark Kramlich should not be teaching our students," said Bouck.

Kramlich began his career at Will James Middle School. He became tenured after four contracts with the district.

Because Kramlich was a tenured teacher, the district must have good/just cause.

Throughout his time in SD2, Kramlich received numerous evaluations from the district where he says he had received positive remarks throughout his tenure. Most recently, it noted poor performance and lack of corrective action to his teaching.

The district also received complaints from parents and students, but Kramlich said he was never allowed to address those concerns with those who complained.

The teacher's union chose not to represent Kramlich for the hearing.

He was transferred to Medicine Crow Middle School for the 2016-17 school year, school officials said, as a fresh start to his career.

Kramlich says he requested the transfer. On Wednesday, Medicine Crow Principal Nikki Hoffman and Associate Principal Tyler Blood testified on Kramlich's actions throughout the school year, saying he failed to take advantage of the fresh start.

"He is not the type of teacher we want in the school district," said Hoffman. "He came under our radar through parent calls, emails. We realized by the end of October something was not right."

Kramlich challenged a number of the district's evaluations of his performance.

Officials said Kramlich was disorganized, did not give students structure in lesson plans, did not take attendance nor enter grades, and provided examples of failure to perform his duties as a teacher.

After the district's testimony, Kramlich spoke to the board of trustees, disagreeing with areas of the assessment.

He said he was targeted by the school administration for years and filed a grievance in May.

A subsequent investigation found Kramlich's allegations did not have merit.

In an allegation during the meeting, Kramlich said Bouck verbally told Kramlich he would fire him. Kramlich also said a union representative witnessed the exchanges.

Administration later pointed out that the meetings were in regards to a possible termination hearing that could lead to Kramlich's dismissal.

Throughout the last school year, a number of students requested to be transferred from Kramlich's class.

In the Spring, a large project assigned to the students on the Civil War. The project, according to Hoffman, did not have expectation, due dates, or goals. Of the four classes, 54 percent completed the project.

Kramlich was also accused of calling his student "f*cking idiots" before a field trip.

Hoffman did not know of Kramlich's prior history at Will James until this week where she was able to view concerns and comments of Kramlich's performance.

"The same types of concerns persisted through three different administrators," Hoffman said.

After four hours of testimony, including Kramlich's rebuttal to accusations, the board of trustees approved the recommendation of terminating Kramlich's contract.

Kramlich declined to speak with Q2 News after the meeting, but stood by his comments and conduct.

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