Disciplined superintendent demoted to interim role, promised new position

A superintendent who was recently disciplined for ethical violations will keep his job until trustees hire a replacement. Marsh Valley’s Marvin Hansen is then guaranteed a new position in the district with reduced pay, according to public records obtained by Idaho Education News.

On July 1, Hansen moved into a “limited, interim” superintendent role with the district while trustees search for his replacement, as indicated in a separation agreement between Hansen and the school board.

Marvin Hansen

The agreement guarantees Hansen a new job as an administrative assistant in the district once he’s replaced. Hansen will be paid according to his $108,973 annual salary until that happens. His newly created position will include annual pay of $66,000, plus benefits.

Hansen’s employment with the district will end June 30, 2021, the agreement reads, “unless both parties agree otherwise in writing.”

The arrangement, which trustees approved 3-2 last week, follows an allegation from former district employee Lynette Battson that Hansen sexually harassed her numerous times over four years ago.

Hansen’s relationship with Battson “did not amount to sexual harassment under District policy,” but a “sexual relationship existed” between the two, an investigator hired by the district determined.

The investigation also uncovered Hansen’s misuse of a district-owned car and cell phone — actions that resulted in his demotion.

Battson called the investigation’s findings “unsubstantiated.” In a July 13 email to trustees, she pointed to a perceived friendship between Hansen and Marsh Valley Board Chair Kevin Fonnesbeck, who oversaw the investigation. Battson also complained that Hansen wasn’t put on paid leave during the investigation and reiterated her prior claim that the superintendent pushed her against a wall in his office years ago and “forced me to touch him until he had an erection.”

“No consensual relationship begins with a violent act,” Battson wrote.

Hansen denies the allegations of harassment. Fonnesbeck last month told EdNews that he has “maintained a professional relationship with (Hansen) during my tenure on the Board, as I would expect from all members of the Board.”

Weeks after trustees voted to discipline the superintendent, Battson’s husband, David Battson, attacked Hansen with a baseball bat outside the district office, telling police afterward that the superintendent had “forced himself sexually” on his wife.

Hansen’s injuries left him hospitalized, though he has resumed his job as superintendent. David Battson faces up to 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Fonnesbeck and fellow trustees Don Nielsen and Jill Gunter voted in favor of Hansen’s separation agreement on July 13. Trustees Paige Armstrong and Kathy Egan cast opposing votes.

Hansen has been Marsh Valley’s superintendent for 16 years.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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