Arbitrator Rules That Clausen Can Return To Work

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

A special arbitrator has ruled that Mitch Clausen, who has been paid on paid administrative leave since July as Cambridge-Isanti High School principal, can return to work.

Clausen was put on paid administrative leave July 13 as a result of his three-hour absence to visit an Orlando theme park on June 16 during a school Conference he was attending in Florida. KSTP of Minneapolis has reported that the half day was approved, but back on Aug. 2, by unanimous vote, the school board took action to propose the immediate termination of Clausen. Clausen then filed a grievance in response to that action.

“My attorney called and notified me we had won the arbitration,” Clausen told the Isanti County News. “The district and I have to sit down yet and work out the details, but the decision is I can return to my job.”

Clausen said he is happy the 11-month process is over.

“I’m thrilled to death I can go back to work,” Clausen told the News. “The phone calls and text messages of support I have received have been overwhelming. For the last 10 months, I’d wake up sick to my stomach every day. I’m very happy with the decision of the arbitrator.”

In a hearing Jan. 21, Clausen testified that he did leave the conference early on June 16 to visit Universal Studios, but said that he had also worked about 50 hours the week of the convention. Clausen said he had attended around 13-14 sessions by that Wednesday afternoon.

No word yet on when Clausen will return to school, but he has had the support of many students during his absence.

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