tcr-091919-starrprelim 5

Terry Starr sits in court during his preliminary examination on Sept. 18 in the 86th District Court in Bellaire.

KALKASKA — Kalkaska Public Schools officials are in "wait-and-see" mode as the case against suspended Superintendent Terry Starr continues.

Rachael Birgy, president of the KPS Board of Education, said "nothing has changed" regarding Starr's standing with the district. Starr was placed on paid administrative leave after two felony charges and one misdemeanor charge were levied against him in April. Trustees voted to suspend Starr without pay in late June after hiring Lee Sandy as an interim replacement.

Starr is set to appear in the 13th Circuit Court Monday in Bellaire for a final conference before his Dec. 10 trial. Judge Thomas Power will also consider two motions from the defense. One is a motion to quash Judge Bob Cooney’s Sept. 19 ruling in the 86th District Court that there was enough evidence to provide probable cause to bind the case over for a trial. 

Birgy said they are "maintaining the status quo."

"We're just holding out for the justice system to do its job," she said. "We'll see how it plays out. If the motion to quash isn't heard or seen and he does go to (trial in December), then we'll wait and see how all that goes before any big decisions are made."

Starr has maintained his innocence from the beginning, but he remains charged with two felonies — one count of false report of a felony, one count of intentional false report of child abuse — and one misdemeanor count of falsely and maliciously accusing another of a crime.

Michigan State Police investigators claim Starr, in January 2018 when he was the principal at Cherryland Middle School in Elk Rapids, sent a batch anonymous letters to several Elk Rapids Public Schools officials, including himself, accusing Elk Rapids High School Principal Mike Travis of actions that would constitute felony criminal sexual assault against a now-graduated student in 2013.

Don Passenger, Starr's lead attorney, said he believes the two motions were "fairly presented" to the judge. He said, however, that Starr remains frustrated that he is even in this situation.

"He believes in the process and the team he's surrounded himself with. He really appreciates the community support he's received," Passenger said. "His mood is as good as it can be for a guy who is in his situation."

Antrim County Prosecutor Jim Rossiter could not be reached for comment Friday.

The KPS Board of Education is set to meet at 6 p.m. Monday. Birgy said no decisions on Starr's employment are likely to be made at that time.

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