SJSD Backs Off on Stipends Until Evaluation Completed

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 05/12 2014 10:43PM

Updated 05/13 2014 07:49AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)  With an overflow crowd that spilled into the hallway, the St. Joseph School District Board of Education reversed course on stipends for staff and administrators Monday night.

Instead of approving a newly-discovered batch of stipends and adding them to the district's salary schedule booklet, the board agreed to table the issue. Board president Dan Haggard says he will now form a new ad-hoc committee to investigate the entire stipend program.

The vote was unanimous to pull the stipends out of the salary book, with board member Martin Rucker voting off-site through a video feed.

As the attendance at the meeting showed, many are still concerned over a set of stipends originally approved in March that included more than $250,000 approved for chief administrators.

The furor over that discovery led representatives from the State Auditor's Office coming to St. Joseph to complete an exhaustive audit. Auditors are now in their third week of looking at the school district's books.

The FBI has also interviewed board members and administrators and last week a federal grand jury handed down a subpoena for additional financial information and other paperwork.

Membership of the to-be-formed ad-hoc committee will include board members, school staff, teachers, human resource professionals from other businesses and community members.

Haggard says they will have work to do.

"I think there's going to be some that will be easily approved like a head coach for football or a band instructor for whatever extra duty they have," Haggard said. "Some of those basic things will be easy to pass through. Others we will need to look at."

It is hoped the committee can form a recommendation for the stipends before the board of education's next meeting in June.

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