St. Joseph dumps its superintendent after a scathing audit - KCTV5

St. Joseph dumps its superintendent after a scathing audit

Posted: Updated:
The St. Joseph School District announced Saturday that the board had voted in closed session Friday to begin terminating the contract of Fred Czerwonka. The St. Joseph School District announced Saturday that the board had voted in closed session Friday to begin terminating the contract of Fred Czerwonka.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) -

The St. Joseph School District is getting rid of its superintendent after a scathing audit found that at least $25 million in unapproved stipends had been handed out to administrators.

The school system announced Saturday that the board had voted 6-0 in a closed session Friday to begin terminating the contract of Fred Czerwonka, the St. Joseph News-Press reports. Czerwonka didn't have a listed phone number, and the district said in a statement that there would be no additional comment.

The board's action came after State Auditor Tom Schweich released a report Tuesday that listed 17 areas of concern that led to the district receiving the first "poor" ranking given to a Missouri school district since 2011. The amount of stipends could have reached $40 million had the audit gone back further than eight years, Schweich said. Other problems his office found include the district promoting some employees without proper degrees, using school funds for unreasonable purchases, holding improper closed meetings and mismanaging bond investments.

Todd Brockett, president of the local National Education Association chapter and a teacher at Robidoux Middle School, called the superintendent's removal "long overdue."

"Whenever you see a district taking the wrong directions the way it has, steps need to be taken quickly to change that direction," Brockett said.

Czerwonka, formerly school superintendent in West Plains, was hired in 2013 to lead a school district with 11,500 students and a budget of more than $120 million in St. Joseph.

But trouble set in when board member Chris Danford publicly raised concerns about thousands of dollars in stipends given to administrators without board approval. Additional criticism was directed at raises and promotions given to the relatives of high-level administrators.

Despite the controversy, the Board of Education gave Czerwonka a one-year contract extension and a 2 percent raise in April 2014. He made $190,000 a year in base pay.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.