KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Months after a former assistant superintendent filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Kalamazoo Public Schools, the school district is countersuing, claiming he is responsible for financial damages.
Earlier this year, Jim English, the former superintendent of operations, filed the original whistleblower lawsuit against KPS, alleging they fired him as retaliation for whistleblowing after bringing concerns about “unusual accounting and spending practices by (district) administrators.”
Since then, the lawsuit has been moved to federal court, through which KPS countersued English on the grounds of breach of contractual and fiduciary duties.
According to court documents obtained by News 8, the countersuit claims English, without the board’s approval, was involved in creating and funding the now-defunct Kalamazoo Public Schools Foundation, which would be used to financially support the school district. It says the board expected that KPS would not be funding the Foundation due to district policy.
The countersuit alleges English approved five payments totaling more than $91,000 for equipment, consulting, database and transcription services all without the board’s approval. One of them was reportedly made to the foundation’s president for attending a Discover Kalamazoo golf outing, which it claims violated state law.
English denied the countersuit’s allegations, saying no payments were authorized without approval from then-Superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri or the Board of Education and that “funds supporting the Foundation were included in the (board-approved) budget.” He argued the countersuit’s allegations violate the Whistleblower Protection Act, among other things.
The countersuit is in mediation. English’s attorney requested it to be sent to a jury.