Judge appoints new board for financially strapped David School

bestep@herald-leader.comMay 18, 2012 

A judge has appointed a new board to oversee a financially strapped alternative school in Floyd County in hopes of keeping it afloat.

Circuit Judge Johnny Ray Harris granted an injunction Thursday barring any current board members of The David School from continuing, and put a new five-member board in place.

Attorney General Jack Conway's office sought the injunction.

The office is investigating the school's financial condition and concerns of possible financial improprieties involving Daniel Greene, founder and longtime director of the school.

One concern was that there was no board in place to oversee the non-profit school and its assets.

One of the first actions of the new board was to fire Greene.

"He went a direction he shouldn't have gone," said new board chairman Dennis Dorton, president and CEO of Citizens National Bank in Paintsville.

The board is trying to make sure it gets back any keys, credit cards and financial documents Greene had and gets a clear picture of the school's finances.

One thing is clear: The board needs to begin raising money quickly.

The school has enough money to pay utilities through the summer and keep the school open, but not enough to start classes in August, Dorton said.

Supporters have vowed to keep the school afloat.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to try to get it back on its feet," Dorton said.

The private school is funded through donations and grants. Students, many of them poor, pay little to attend.

Greene helped found the school in 1973 and had been its director since, even after moving to Texas in 2005.

The school is an alternative for students at risk of not finishing public high schools.

Teachers work closely with students on academics and life skills, providing attention that would be difficult for students to get in larger public schools, said the principal, Diantha Daniels.

The school has helped hundreds of young people graduate who probably wouldn't have otherwise, supporters have said.

However, fund-raising, which Greene was in charge of, dropped off in recent years, and Conway's office said in court documents that Greene might have illegally diverted or misappropriated school assets.

One case the documents cited was a 2005 deal in which the school bought Greene's house, paying $157,000 at the time when it was assessed for $78,000.

Greene did not testify at Thursday's hearing but told the Herald-Leader previously he has never wrongly taken money from the school.

Harris also ordered a full audit of the school, said Ned Pillersdorf, a Prestonsburg attorney who asked Conway's office to investigate.

Pillersdorf, a longtime supporter of the school, said the effort to put a new board in place is aimed at revitalizing the school, not shutting it down.

"The purpose of all this is to preserve the school," he said.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1

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