Education

From Aug. 4: Fayette schools chief asks that his evaluation be delayed until audit report is released

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton  and members of the school board listened to explanations about the $20 million "irregularity", and budget proposals on Wednesday May  27, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff
Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton and members of the school board listened to explanations about the $20 million "irregularity", and budget proposals on Wednesday May 27, 2014 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff Herald-Leader

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton said he has recommended to the school board that his annual evaluation be delayed until the state auditor finishes investigating the district's finances.

"I made that recommendation because I feel the board ought to have the benefit of seeing that report prior to completing the evaluation process," Shelton said Friday. "We thought at the time that we would have it before the end of July, but we have not yet received it."

State Auditor Adam Edelen's office is investigating allegations from district budget director Julane Mullins that a budget shortfall was caused by irregular accounting — a late journal entry — and was worsened with "numerous acts of mismanagement." Mullins made those allegations in late May.

Shelton and the district's finance director, Rodney Jackson, have responded strongly to the allegations, saying they did nothing wrong or against district policy. Shelton and Jackson have denied doing anything that has prompted the district's budget cuts, as Mullins alleged.

Shelton asked Edelen to investigate the allegations to assure the public there was no wrongdoing or irregular bookkeeping.

"We do not have a time frame at this point" for when the investigation would be complete, Edelen spokeswoman Steph enie Hoelscher said Friday.

John Price, the school board chairman, said that because questions had been raised, he agreed with Shelton's recommendation that the evaluation not be conducted until the audit was completed. Price said he didn't think irregularities or mismanagement had occurred.

Shelton said that under board policy, the board and the superintendent have to meet no later than July 31 each year to discuss the superintendent's final evaluation.

Shelton said he and the board had met twice this year before July 31 to talk about his evaluation.

Preliminary discussions take place in closed session, and the evaluation is then discussed in open session, Shelton said.

The policy does not include a deadline for completing the evaluation.

The Kentucky Department of Education requires school districts to submit mid-year and end-of-the-year documents related to the performance of superintendents. Shelton said Fayette County had done that.

Education department spokeswoman Nancy Rod riguez said Monday that Fayette County was in compliance.

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