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School Board action appropriate

By Staff | Dec 17, 2014

Last Monday, the School District of Lee County received notice from the Florida Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, notifying the district that it had received a complaint alleging improprieties on the part of Superintendent Nancy Graham.

Specifically, the complainant alleges that Ms. Graham “embellished” savings outlined in a 2013 reorganization plan and that she “obligated and expended Title I funds without prior approval.”

Board action was swift and unanimous: On Wednesday the district agreed to spend up to $10,000 to have independent counsel, Thomas Gonzalez, investigate the allegations and report back to the board, which will relay the findings to the state.

We commend the board for its prompt action, not because we presume the allegations are fact but because the district, the students it serves – and Ms. Graham herself – deserve quick resolution, if possible.

The district dillied and dallied a couple of years ago under similar circumstances and a different superintendent, and the delay did little except divert attention for months from the more-challenging-every-day task of educating Lee County students.

And while $10,000 is a chunk of change, it’s not out of line for the task at hand nor is likely to be much more than what the district would have spent had it decided to investigate in house using staff resources and time.

The remaining alternative would have been to allow the OIG to conduct the investigation if the district was “unwilling or unable,” two things we would hate to see our new board be when such matters are brought to its attention.

Beginning the process promptly is a positive and bodes well for the new board’s approach.

– Reporter editorial