School board chair Johnna McKinnon gave a statement on Wednesday about allegations against Clay Superintendent Charlie Van Zant.
Last week in a letter to board members, former principal Dr. Susan Sailor accused Van Zant of knowing that several of his high school principals falsely labeled struggling students as having a learning disability to inflate graduation rates.
She also accused him of instructing her and another district employee to write research papers she believed he turned in as homework for his online master’s degree.
A special meeting with school board members was supposed to happen tonight, but the chair canceled it, saying that it goes against policy to review allegations in a public meeting.
“I am canceling tonight’s meeting and directing the assistant superintendent for human resources to conduct an investigation,” said McKinnon.
The school board attorney Dan Sikes said employees who were named in the letter need due process.
“What’s happened here in the bloodlust to go after the superintendent is that innocent people who have due process rights have been injured,” said Sikes.
He also claimed they would go after whoever leaked the letter to the press.
“We’re going to find out whoever released this information in violation of the policy, because they may have their own troubles by violating board policy,” said Sikes.
“I released it. I released this information, and it’s not in violation of board policy because it affects our superintendent, who is, again, an elected official,” said board member Janice Kerekes.
Kerekes admitted she released the letter and said she wants to talk about the investigation at the Aug. 18 regular meeting so that they can decide if an outside agency should investigate.
“We need an outside individual to come in the department of education, or an inspector general to do an unbiased investigation,” said Kerekes.