Petition to investigate wrong doing by school officials - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Andrew Knaus

Petition to investigate wrong doing by school officials

HOUSTON, Minn. (KTTC-DT) -- Some residents in Houston are accusing the past superintendent of Houston Public Schools and five other employees of receiving thousands of dollars above their contracted salaries.

"Something's rotten in Denmark," says Kevin Kelleher, Citizen of the Houston School District.

With 150 signatures, some resident are serving the current school board with a petition asking the State Auditor to investigate possible wrong doing by prior officials.  The petition alleges more than a total of $88,000 in payments were made without approval by the school board.

Kelleher says the tax payers learned of the payments when Superintendent Kim Ross left office.

"The Interim Superintendent brought in a resolution to stop all payments not in advance by the board," says Kelleher.

Kelleher says after that school board meeting, it was discovered the payments were made for about a year and a half ending in May of 2010 and were claimed under the Minnesota Virtual Academy.

He says Ross's contract did not entitle him to extra money for working with the virtual school.

And without commenting on Ross's contract, current Houston Public Schools Superintendent Jean Broadwater, says hers doesn't either.

"Under my contract do I receive extra stipend for working with the virtual schools? No," says Jean Broadwater.

Broadwater also says all payments made by the school district must be approved by the school board.

"The school board has to approve all the payments we make monthly at the monthly board meeting," says Broadwater.

The hope, Kelleher says, is for the State Auditor to investigate and find the payments to be illegal.

"And hopefully if they are not legal, that money will be then returned to the school district and spent for what it was meant to be spent for. For the education of our kids," says Kelleher.

Kelleher says he was also outraged former Superintendent Ross was claiming to take a pay freeze while receiving the unapproved payments.

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