Superintendent Troubles Cost District Funding
By: Arnold Wyrick
By: Arnold Wyrick
Herrin, IL - The problems for the Frnaklin-Williamson County regional Superintendent of Schools Barry Kohl began back in April 2004. That's when an investigation by the Attorney General's Office found Kohl and his wife had misused district funds, for personal use.
On May 1, 2006 the Illinois Superintendent of Schools Randy Dunn sent Kohl a letter explaining why the U.S. Department of Education was suspending Kohl, and freezing all grants for the district.
"It's a concern because it's kind of a surprise. I mean it just happened in one day. We've just basically been told the funds had been frozen. And that our teachers weren't going to be getting paid, for now anyway," says Zeigler-Royalton Superintendent George Wilkerson.
Part of the $700,000.00 dollars in grant money the government froze was being used for the 21st Century Community Center Learning program. Now 12 teachers, 17 part-time teachers, and a 150 kids in the program have no where to turn.
"This was a tutoring program for our at risk kids. They'd spend about an hour after school helping students with any classes they were falling behind in. This was a very vital program for those students. And it also helped us with our test scores," Superintendent Wilkerson said.
The suspension of Kohl outlined by the U.S. Department of Education states that as long as he remains in office, neither he or the district can handle, or receive any funding for government granted programs.
Kohl, his wife Janine, and two other office employees face a 62 count indictment handed down by Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office. They're accused of submitting bogus travel vouchers, reimbursement of ROE funds for personal expenses, and perjury for testifying before the grand jury about the vouchers.