Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Matthew Constant has been suspended with pay, pending an investigation by the Kentucky State Police. KSP Trooper Corey King said no charges have been filed at this time, and they hope to wrap up the investigation within a couple of weeks.
“An allegation was made that’s criminal in nature against Dr. Constant,” King said. “At this point that’s all it is, is an allegation. It’s not uncommon that we receive information, and then we launch an investigation into that. At this point, no charges have been brought. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we can either substantiate the claim or note it as unfounded and close the case that way.”
Because it’s still early in the investigation, King could not elaborate on the alleged crime.
At the time of the interview King said he was unaware how the complaint originated to KSP, but they are looking into all complaints when they are submitted to the agency.
King said the OPS board was made aware of the investigation on Monday.
“They met with our detectives at our post to discuss the nature of the allegations. I think they were wise in taking precautions to do what they had to do,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of weeks to a month or so before we can give them more information.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the suspension Thursday following a lengthy closed session during their regularly scheduled meeting.
The Board did not discuss any details during the meeting, but Board Chair Dr. Jeremy Luckett issued a statement and took a few questions following the meeting.
“We can not comment on the details of the investigation other than informing you that it does not involve any current or former student or staff member of Owensboro Public Schools,” he said.
Luckett said the suspension takes effect immediately and Constant will receive a letter about the suspension Thursday evening. Luckett said the board had been in contact with Constant since Monday, but he could not reveal what was discussed.
Luckett said there is no timeline for how long the suspension will be in effect because “it’s pending further investigation.”
Regarding why the suspension includes pay, Luckett said “on the advice of counsel there is a timeframe that if it’s without pay that everything must be completed by, whereas if it’s with pay then there’s not that timeframe. Also, we don’t have any current allegations or charges.”
Constant served as interim superintendent from January 1, 2020 through June 30. He has officially served as superintendent since that time.
Constant joined Owensboro Public Schools in 2011, with previous roles including assistant superintendent and Chief Academic Officer. He also previously served as a technology education teacher at Apollo High School, a staff developer for both high schools in the Daviess County Public Schools District, and as assistant principal and principal of Daviess County High School. He also spent time as the district technology coordinator for DCPS prior to joining OPS.
Anita Burnette, who is currently retired from OPS, was appointed to serve as Interim Superintendent. Luckett said Burnette was chosen because she’s familiar with the district.
“We have immense faith that Mrs. Anita Burnette will continue to lead this district in the interim while the investigation progresses,” he said. “She knows a lot of the people in the district. We thought it would be a calming influence on the district. And she’s certainly well qualified for the job,” he said.
Luckett said “At this time, there is no plan to initiate a search for a new superintendent.”
This story will be updated if more information becomes available.