The Pleasure Ridge Park High School principal removed by Jefferson County Public Schools in January amid an investigation of school finances has been recommended for termination, his attorney said Monday.
David Johnson and his attorney, William Walsh, met with JCPS chief academic officer Dewey Hensley and assistant superintendent Brian Shumate on Wednesday, where Johnson was given a copy of a performance evaluation that stated “they have recommended his termination,” Walsh said.
Neither Walsh nor Johnson have received an official termination letter from Superintendent Donna Hargens, Walsh said Monday.
Ben Jackey, spokesman for JCPS, did not immediately return telephone messages Monday. On Friday, he had told The Courier-Journal the district’s investigation involving Johnson was not complete.
Walsh said he was given a copy of the district’s findings on March 17 and submitted a response to those findings on March 28.
Johnson, who has continued to collect his nearly $145,000 salary, was moved from PRP to the JCPS central office, pending the outcome of the district's investigation of "expenditures of school activity funds and final personnel decisions." He was ordered to have no contact with anyone at PRP.
The move to remove Johnson as principal came after the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability reported in December that he had failed to properly document more than $292,000 in school expenses. The state investigators also said he had used the school's activity fund and credit card for what they called questionable purchases, including a $1,900 stay at an oceanfront condo in Myrtle Beach, S.C., before a baseball tournament.
The Courier-Journal submitted a request under the state’s Open Record Act for a copy of the investigative file in January. As of Monday, the newspaper had not been given a copy of of the file.
The issues first came to a head three years ago over a proposal to upgrade the infield for PRP's renowned baseball team.
Johnson was suspended two days in 2010 for approving $35,000 worth of work on the field without soliciting bids from contractors — and for letting head baseball coach Bill Miller's company do the work, despite being warned that might violate the district's conflict-of-interest policy.
Johnson’s supervisor also said he “failed to disclose” that the project had already been completed when he discussed it with district officials.
In an interview with the newspaper earlier this year, Johnson said that while paperwork omissions may have been made in accounting for some spending, "every penny is accounted for," and that district audits have found no fraud or misappropriation of funds.
"They won't find any unethical conduct," Johnson said in a February interview.
Monday, May 05, 2014
JCPS recommends firing PRP principal, lawyer says
This from the Courier-Journal: