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News : Grand Jury Targets St. Joseph School District
Posted by Randy on 2014/5/13 4:23:11 (568 reads) News by the same author

St. Joseph, Mo. (newspressnow.com) - A federal grand jury has opened an investigation into the St. Joseph School District, school officials confirmed Friday.
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The superintendent’s office received a subpoena to produce records from the district to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

School officials said the request is for meeting records, meeting notices, policies and personnel records and other documents. No officials have been subpoenaed.

Steve Huff, assistant to the superintendent, said he couldn’t say how far back they had to go to retrieve the documents requested. He said it would probably take about a week or more to retrieve and submit all the requested documents.

“It’s hard to say at this point. We just received it. We have not put it together yet. We’re working on a plan to provide that information,” Mr. Huff said.

The subpoena was served to Debbie Consolver, the school board’s custodian of records, at the district offices about midmorning. The document was served in person by a local FBI agent.
Ms. Consolver said this is the first time she had been subpoenaed for any records.

“We have been and will continue to fully cooperate with the FBI investigation,” said superintendent Dr. Fred Czerwonka through a press release. “We hope to resolve this shortly so we can get back to our No. 1 focus, which is to educate kids.”
The FBI began investigating the district after Board of Education members learned at a March meeting of stipends paid to administrators without board approval. In addition, the board learned of promotions and large pay raises given to relatives of administrators and a school board member.

On April 10, the FBI interviewed Dr. Czerwonka and district human resources director Doug Flowers. During the past few weeks, board members have confirmed that they have been interviewed by FBI agents.

The investigation led the school district to hire Tom Mickes, a St. Louis attorney who represents the district and the Board of Education. Last week, Mr. Mickes released an 83-page report in which he reassured board members that the FBI investigation had proven fruitless.

Mr. Huff said Dr. Czerwonka was out of town at an education conference and wasn’t available to attend the news conference. Mr. Huff said Dr. Czerwonka was unavailable to comment further.

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