Embattled Superintendent Resigns

Berry Kohl
Berry Kohl
Embattled Superintendent Resigns
By: Arnold Wyrick
Williamson County, IL - For the past two years the controversy swirling around Regional Superintendent Barry Kohl's office has overshadowed the Franklin-Williamson County School Districts. The whirlwind wound down on Tuesday morning. After a brief meeting behind closed doors at the Williamson County Courthouse, county board members and prosecutors from both counties emerged with a letter in hand.
"In reference to the resignation of Barry Kohl. Mister Kohl's attorney advised us that he was resigning solely for the purpose of protecting the integrity of the funds that the Regional Office of Education receives on behalf of the school districts," says Bob Barnett Williamson County Board Chairman.
In Kohl's letter he states that his resignation is in no way an admittance of guilt for any wrong doing.
Kohl was arrested back in April 2004 for alleged misuse of school district funds. And later he was charged with perjury while testifying to a grand jury about the bogus travel vouchers.
Some parents in the school district say his resignation is long overdue.
"He did very well for us in the beginning. But I think a lot of the controversy that came in the end, it's now time to let somebody else take over who could maybe do a better job," says Stacy Gardner of West Frankfort.
Kohl's resignation is effective May 31st. had he choose to remain in office until the end of his term in July 2007, the U.S. Department of Education was prepared to suspend all funds for grant programs. A sum total of $2.8 million that could've cost dozens of full time and part-time teachers their jobs.
"Well then he's obviously caring about the kids more then he is himself. So that's kind of selfless of him, I think that might not be a bad idea," says Stephanie Ellis of West Frankfort.
Now county leaders must appoint an interim superintendent for the district, which they plan to do in the next couple of weeks.
Kohl states in his letter he'll now turn his attention to his family and preparing for his upcoming trial, where he looks forward to presenting his side of the case.