Bismarck Schools Superintendent On Tschosik: It's "Difficult To Fire A Contracted Employee"


The sad and ongoing saga of the Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and her one-time fiance Todd Tschosik got another ugly chapter yesterday. Apparently Tschosik called into a talk radio show yesterday during school hours to give his side of the story about his tumultuous relationship with Baesler (which featured one domestic violence arrest each, neither resulting in charges).

The call earned him some administrative from his employer because it happened during school hours. I spoke with Bismarck Public Schools Superintendent Tamara Uselman this morning and wrote about it at Watchdog:

“Mr. Tschosik called into a radio show during his taxpayer paid work time,” Bismarck Public Schools Superintendent Tamara Uselman told Watchdog in a telephone interview. “We have an administrative policy which guides what we, as employees, can do. During the minimum eight-hour work day we are expected to be doing school district work.”

Uselman provided Watchdog with a copy of an administrative rule governing teacher and administrator work days. She said Tschosik will remain on leave while she investigates the “facts on the table.”

You can read the rule below.

I asked Uselman if this sort of thing could get Tschosik fired. Her answer? Firing teachers is complicated stuff:

Asked whether Tschosik could be terminated, Uselman said that sort of decision is a difficult one.

“These are heavy issues. At the same time you balance that against teaching, which is really complex work,” Uselman said. “So there’s been century code around removing teachers. And it’s actually a pretty high standard for terminating employment for teachers.

“I think that when the standard has been reached it is possible to terminate a teacher. I think it’s more difficult to terminate a contracted employee than another employee. I’m not saying that’s right or that’s wrong. I’m going to follow century code.”

Tschosik has quite a checkered history during his time at Bismarck Public Schools. In addition to his problems with Baesler, which includes an arrest for allegedly choking her during an incident in Florida, and some DUI convictions he has twice left classrooms full of children unattended when he didn’t show up for work:

On Nov. 6, Tschosik was reprimanded for showing up at work at 8:45 a.m.; he was supposed to have been in the school building by 7:45. “There was no communication between Mr. Tschosik and Legacy High School prior to him arriving late,” reads a memo written by Simle Middle School Principal Russ Riehl and obtained by Watchdog via an open records request for Tschosik’s personnel file. “Consquently, students were left without an instructor for 30 minutes. This is not the first time Mr. Tschosik’s attendance has been a concern.”

On Jan. 9, Bismarck Public School officials sent law enforcement officers to Tschosik’s home for a welfare check after he failed to show up for work.

“Your action of not coming to work and not contacting Legacy High School, Simle Middle School or Wachter Middle School to let them know you would not be in to work on Friday left a classroom of students unsupervised,” says a letter of reprimand signed by Riehl, Tschosik and two other school officials. “We were very fortunate that a student notified the office that you were not in the classroom.”

According to Uselman, Tschosik was not put on leave for these incidents. I asked if he’d ever been put on administrative leave and she wasn’t sure, noting that Tschosik’s employment with the school district preceded hers.

She said she’d have to check the records to be certain.