MOFFAT — The Moffat School Board met Monday evening and in the course of business accepted the resignation of district Superintendent Kirk Banghart. The resignation was announced in the following statement issued by the board.
“Mr. Banghart resigned for personal reasons. The District and Mr. Banghart have each agreed not to discuss or disclose other matters concerning Mr. Banghart's employment with the district or his departure from such employment except with the other party's prior written consent. We intend to honor this agreement.”
In March, the Moffat School Board published a statement in local papers reporting that Banghart was recovering following the removal of a benign brain tumor in January and would be continuing his physical therapy from home.
Also during the Monday meeting, the board interviewed candidates for interim superintendent, as acting interim superintendent Linda Stagner’s time in the position expired at the end of the school year.
Stagner took over for interim superintendent Karen Hazard in April following an altercation between Hazard and then principal Michelle Hashbarger. Stagner said Tuesday in a telephone interview it will be up to the new interim superintendent or the superintendent hired to replace Banghart to decide the final disposition of Hashbarger.
Banghart took over as school superintendent in the summer of 2010, following the resignation of former superintendent Eli Dokson. Banghart entered the Moffat Schools scene at a time when the school and Crestone Charter School were on uncertain financial ground and per-pupil and other state funding was in major decline.
One of his first challenges as superintendent was to garner support for a two-phase mill levy to pay off old school debts and avoid major staff and program reductions.
The popular superintendent spearheaded the drive to obtain a Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant after it was discovered that the then existing school, built in 1921, suffered numerous structural deficiencies. These included a deteriorating foundation, a heating system on its last legs, eroded pipes in the plumbing system, crumbling electrical wiring and security issues.
Center Schools faced much the same infrastructure problems when it likewise made the decision to pursue its BEST grant. Although many taxpayers initially believed the Moffat district could save money by renovating the existing structure, replacement costs were shown to exceed actual new construction expenses given the extent of the necessary repairs.
The Moffat Schools bond for a $17.6 million campus met with voter approval in November 2013 and the state-of-the-art, energy efficient school opened for the school year in August of 2015.
During Banghart’s tenure, Moffat Schools received the Accredited with Distinction award for being in the top 10 percent of districts in the state and Moffat Middle School received the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement award. Throughout his career at the school, he also lobbied aggressively for Secure Rural Schools funding and when the funds dried up last year, begged legislators to reconsider.
Banghart served as a member of the Rural Education Council in 2016. The Council is comprised of one rural superintendent from each of the eight regions in the state, two rural school board members, two rural principals, a rural teacher, and a representative from the Colorado Association of School Executives, Colorado BOCES Association, Rural Alliance and the Colorado Association of School Boards.
As president of the Colorado Rural Schools Alliance, he also attended a rally with Moffat School Board members in January of 2016 at the Capitol building rotunda in Denver to push for the re-funding of public schools. Sixty of the 178 Colorado school superintendents were present at the rally. Banghart was vocal in his advocacy for adequate Colorado schools for children statewide.