|Updated: 6/11/2011 7:05 am
||Published: 6/10/2011 7:28 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Problems within the Pulaski County Special School District go back several years. From buying out superintendents contracts, to facing fiscal distress, to issues with union contracts, it's always something.
Mismanagement of your tax money by PCSSD revealed in the legislative audit was no secret.
In 2009, prosecutors charged the district's maintenance supervisor, James Diemer, with stealing more than $400,000 from PCSSD. Diemer was accused of buying all sorts of things and reselling them to buy drugs. Diemer pleaded guilty, lost his job, and then Board President Tim Clark called for the audit.
"The dollar amount kind of shocked me," said Clark in 2010.
The audit revealed board members were using money to see a broadway play and to buy booze.
It also showed they spent federal aid meant to help homeless children on hundreds of dollars worth of women's underwear.
Then, last year, video surfaced showing Board Member Gwen Williams taking an envelope. Last month, a prosecutor announced it was a plan to shame Williams in a fake bribery scheme cooked up by Clark and Mills High School Principal Michael Nellums.
The Legislative Audit Committee's recommendation to abolish the board does not sit well with one involved parent. Despite the drama, Rizelle Aaron, who isn't afraid to get into it himself,
still believes in the board and Superintendent Charles Hopson.
"He's dealing aggressively with issues that affect minority and poor. Not just minority, but minority and poor. And, I think people just don't like it," says Aaron.
His solution is to stop what he's calling unnecessary political conflict between everyone involved.
"On one way they say let's stop the confusion, on the other hand they're doing things behind the scenes and openly to just continue to cause confusion. And, it's only hurting the kids. Our kids. My kids," says Aaron.
Late Friday afternoon, PCSSD announced an emergency board meeting scheduled for Monday night at five. There is one thing on the agenda: an executive session about a personnel issue. The district may have finished its investigation into Nellums. Right now, he is on paid leave.