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Tue, Jul 25, 2017 03:46 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

OEA probe of Martin schools expanding
Superintendent travel is not the sole focus for investigators
by Susan Allen

INEZ — An investigation by the state’s Office of Education Accountability (OEA) into spending practices by the Martin County school system has apparently broadened.

OEA investigators were in the district for most of this week reviewing financial documents and conducting interviews with school personnel, but superintendent Bill Slone wasn’t around.

A woman answering the phone at the district’s central office said Slone had taken “a few days off” and she didn’t know when he would return to the district.

OEA director Ken Henry said Thursday from his Frankfort office he cannot comment on ongoing investigations.

Martin board member Kathleen Price referred questions about the expanded probe to the superintendent.

“On something like that, we leave it up to Mr. Slone,” Price said.

A call to board chairman Dr. Raymond Wells and member William Davis were not returned.

There was no telephone listing for board member Betty Endicott and member Nola Antel is reportedly out of town.

OEA began a probe in the district last year, after complaints were received regarding travel expenses of the superintendent. OEA investigators found that the school district had paid for the travel expenses of Slone’s wife, Barbara, who accompanied him on several trips.

Slone agreed to repay the district for his wife’s expenses.

The expanded probe reportedly centers on several areas of spending practices, including improper approval of payments, documents that have been amended after being presented to board members for approval; and expenses related to the district’s America’s Choice Math and Science grant.

Earlier this year, Slone mentioned at a board meeting that the district had to be reimbursed for travel expenses of his wife and spouses of other board members who accompanied them on out-of-district travel. All reimbursements have been made, except from board member Antel, who is reportedly making payments on what is owed.

Investigators with OEA have reportedly been interviewing current and former school employees and others associated with the school district, and they are reportedly encouraging anyone with information or concern about district issues to call their Frankfort office at 502-564-4394.

There was no indication this week when the current investigation of Martin County school issues will be complete or what charges, if any, may result.


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