A teacher at Wheelersburg Local School District has filed a suit against the school district which Superintendent Mark Knapp called the result of pending school board action taken against the teacher.
A statement prepared by Knapp explains that the district in October 2007 became concerned with accounting discrepancies in its Latchkey program, led by Dana Jones, elementary intervention specialist.
The Latchkey program, as the statement reads, provides before- and after-school child care services for kindergarten-through-fourth grade students, and the budget is based entirely on fees collected from those who use the service.
Upon realizing the discrepancies, the school board reportedly placed Jones on paid leave status pending further review of the program's receipts and expenditures. In consultation with Ohio Auditor of State Mary Taylor, the previous four years of the Latchkey program were identified for special audit.
Knapp said the state auditor's office did issue a draft audit confirming the discrepancies, and shared its draft findings with the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said no legal action can be taken until the state releases its final audit findings.
On Aug. 7, 2008, the Wheelersburg School Board took independent administrative action to initiate the termination proceedings against Jones, and to suspend her without pay pending the resolution of those proceedings. In the meantime, Knapp said, Jones is still employed by the district, but remains on unpaid suspension while the board process continues.
"The suit by Dana Jones is the result of action taken by the board on Aug. 7 pertaining to her employment with the district," Knapp said of Jones' suit, filed Sept. 12 in the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas.
In addition to Wheelersburg Schools proper, both Knapp and school treasurer George Grice have been named as defendants in Jones' suit, both professionally and individually. Knapp had no further comment, pending the ongoing legal and school board actions.
Jones' telephone number is not listed and she could not be located for comment on Friday. She is represented by Attorney James Banks, of Dublin, Ohio, but Banks did not return calls Thursday or Friday asking for comments.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.