KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A Kalamazoo Public Schools employee who paid more than $91,000 to an outside organization without approval has been fired, the school board says.
It says English had paid an outside organization more than $91,000 without the “authorization or knowledge” of the board. In her recommendation to fire him, Interim Superintendent Cindy Green said he had made the payments to support the ‘Kalamazoo Public Schools Foundation,’ an independent foundation started in June.
The foundation was never approved by the school board, and some board members were unaware it existed, Green said.
Some of the expenditures included paying the president of the foundation for his attendance at the ‘Discover Kalamazoo Golf Outing,’ Green wrote.
The board also says English outsourced an administrative position without approval, and agreed to a services contract that did not have a written agreement.
In her recommendation, Green said English had hired an outside contractor as the district’s director of finance, “over the repeated objections of the District’s Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources.”
The contractor, Michael McDonald, was paid $101.50 per hour, while continuing his work as the executive director of business services at Grand Haven Area Public Schools, Green wrote.
The board also accused English of “engaging in a pattern of behavior that was inconsistent with good and established business practices.”
Green said English would work from home on Fridays while not allowing his staff members to do the same, told staff members not to share budget information with others and would not give the human resources department copies of outside contracts. She said he also told his assistant to not enter his paid time off and would submit expenses for reimbursements but would not say what they were for.
English has been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 16, when an investigation was opened into his conduct.
English had been with the district since July 2021.
During the Wednesday meeting, the board also hired Laura Kayser to work as the district’s chief financial officer.
“This recommendation comes as a result of an immediate need for a chief financial officer in the district,” Green wrote in her recommendation to hire Kayser.
The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board will be sharing more information during its meeting on Jan. 12, 2023.