Duluth School Board member censured

The Duluth School Board has censured one of its own members, Art Johnston, after an outside investigation found merit in allegations brought against him.

 The Duluth News Tribune reports that the censure came after allegations that “Johnston used his position to advocate for his district-employed partner, and behaved inappropriately toward Superintendent Bill Gronseth and board member Mike Miernicki following a high school graduation last summer.”

Johnston denies all the allegations.

The story says that the board’s resolution also warns Johnston that “any future attempts to to use his position as a School Board member to improperly influence a district personnel matter, where he has a personal conflict of interest, or to engage in unwelcome physical contact, or threatened physical contact, with any district employee or School Board member may result in further consequences” including removal from the board.

The board censured another of its members in December: Harry Welty was censured for blogging about the the sale price of the former Central High School building before the deal was officially signed.

In the Johnston case, a metro law firm investigated, and after more then 30 interviews, found that Johnston had been abusive and threatening with the superintendent and a fellow board member.

The allegations also say he tried to intervene in a school staff matter involving his partner.

Before the censure action, the board tried to oust Johnston from the board; he then filed a lawsuit against the district and five board members.

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