Monday, May 05, 2014

JCPS recommends firing PRP principal, lawyer says

This from the Courier-Journal:
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
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.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if the guy's lawyer even knows what ethicial means. What is sad is that the guy got away with this stuff for multiple years and the district let it happen with intervention only when inappropriate acts become public.

You throw good principals out on the street who bust their tail to get low performing schools running and then you let this sort of thing go on for years on the upscale side of town. Hey, maybe the Commish was right a couple of years ago.

Anonymous said...

Sad part is the district probably spend more time looking at whether the school's gap score decreased by a couple of points or if the program review in writing was completed in time than if the principal spent over a thousand dollars on himself for a fancy hotel.

How can you have faith in a district office to oversee the education and safety of children when it's checks and balances allows a principal to unilaterally spend that much money on a no bid baseball field improvement done by the baseball team coach's contracting firm.

This leader was either so well connected politically that his cocky hubris had no bonds or else he was pretty darn dumb. Either way, who know what other corruption or misdeeds were occurring that we will never know about.