Printer Friendly

No criminal wrongdoing found in Marmaduke School District.

SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT PROSECUTING Attorney Brent Davis said last week that he found no criminal wrongdoing at the Marmaduke School District after reviewing an audit that found violations of state law.

The Legislative Joint Auditing Committee found the Greene County district of about 750 students didn't follow ethical guidelines in two cases:

* Two school board members had been paid for being substitute bus drivers. It was the district's practice for the contracted bus drivers to arrange and pay their substitute drivers, so the board members weren't paid directly by the district.

* The school's former superintendent, Jerry Don McIntosh, was a board member of a local branch of American State Bank of Jonesboro, which conducted business with the district.

The audit said the practice involving the bus drivers stopped on Nov. 9. And McIntosh resigned from the bank board on Nov. 15 and the district on Nov. 23, after more than 30 years of service.

But not all the problems are over for the Marmaduke School District.

Its former elementary school principal, James Lentz, recently sued the district and its superintendent, Debbie Smith, claiming he was wrongfully terminated.

In February, the district fired Lentz, who had more than 30 years of experience, for insubordination and "a pattern and history of unprofessional behavior that includes inappropriate sexual remarks and intimidating conduct towards the faculty and staff members at Marmaduke Elementary School," Lentz's lawsuit said.

Lentz denied the allegation.

Lentz said in the lawsuit that he believes he was fired for an anonymous letter that was sent to the Arkansas Department of Education that outlined a number of possible violations at the school, including McIntosh ordering attendance fraud.

"McIntosh ordered the elementary principal to falsify attendance records," the anonymous letter said. "He told (Lentz) to never show more than 20 students absent on a given day."

When Lentz didn't follow the order, McIntosh told the attendance secretary to never count more than 20 elementary students absent, Lentz claimed in the lawsuit.

McIntosh couldn't be reached for comment.

On Nov. 9, before McIntosh resigned from the district, he sent the ADE a response to the allegations. McIntosh wrote that some of the allegations "could appear to be unethical while not unlawful, and some could be an error of judgment on my part while trying to do what was best for our students and school."

McIntosh agreed that having the school board members, Gene Bennett and Kim Bridges, drive the buses for the contracted drivers "may have been an unethical decision on my part."

And as for being on the bank board, McIntosh wrote that the school district had done its banking business with Union Planters Bank, but when Union Planters closed its Marmaduke branch, the district transferred its account to American State Bank, where he was already a board member.

"There was no agreement to be placed on the board in order to get the account," McIntosh wrote.

McIntosh also said that he doesn't recall ordering anyone to falsify attendance records.

Lentz said he was fired in retaliation for providing information to ADE about wrongdoing under McIntosh's leadership.

He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

Little Rock attorney Paul Blume, who is representing the Marmaduke School District, said Lentz was fired based on his own merit.

"It had nothing to do with the letter that was sent to the department," Blume said. "For one thing, ... no one knows who wrote the letter."
COPYRIGHT 2005 Journal Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:In Full View
Comment:No criminal wrongdoing found in Marmaduke School District.(In Full View)
Author:Friedman, Mark
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Jul 4, 2005
Words:569
Previous Article:Winrock Grass Farm sells for $4.55 million.
Next Article:MarketFoods files Chapter 7, closes Rogers store.
Topics:


Related Articles
New Tanker Car Plant Building Toward Full Production.
EDITORIAL COURTING TRUTH.
SUPERVISORS WANT BELMONT PROBE; CALL FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION MADE INTO WHETHER CONTAMINATION COVERED UP.
CIVIL SUIT AGAINST CARNEY DISMISSED GIRL REQUESTS END TO LITIGATION AGAINST EX-COUNCILMAN.
Marmaduke Schools under investigation.
U.S. Attorney's Office looking at Marmaduke School.
MORE DETAILED AUDIT OF HART DISTRICT DECLINED NO CRIMINAL WRONGDOING DISCOVERED IN INITIAL REPORT.
TWO STUDENTS PLEAD NOT GUILTY TO CHARGES IN BIRTHDAY-CAKE SPAT.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters