FBI Probe Into St. Joseph Schools Expands To A Second District

Mar 25, 2015

The federal investigation into the St. Joseph School District has widened to include another district in the state.

The West Plains School District in south-central Missouri has been served with a subpoena from a federal grand jury sitting in Kansas City.

The subpoena in West Plains came at the same time that the grand jury issued a fourth subpoena for documents from the St. Joseph district.

Sources say the latest subpoena in St. Joseph demands expense reports and time sheets for some top administrators and contracts from certain district vendors.

Recently fired St. Joseph Superintendent Fred Czerwonka is the connection between the two subpoenas.

Czwerwonka was superintendent in West Plains before taking the top job in St. Joseph in 2013.

He was fired by the board of education in February four days after a scathing report from the state auditor uncovered up to $40 million in unapproved stipends, numerous no-bid contracts, nepotism and numerous violations of Missouri’s Sunshine Act.

West Plains Superintendent Dr. John Mulford confirmed he received the subpoena in the mail.

“The FBI made it clear that the West Plains District is not being investigated,” Mulford said. “The subpoena is for records for a former West Plains employee now in St. Joseph.”

"Our district will work with the FBI to provide the requested documents," West Plains board of education president Jim Thompson said in a statement.

The St. Joseph district has been in turmoil for the last year.

It’s not only being investigated by the FBI but it’s also fighting a slander lawsuit filed by CFO Beau Musser, it’s run afoul of the state department of education for disallowed summer school classes and Dan Colgan was forced to resign from the school board.

Now the acting superintendent, Dr. Jake Long, who came with Czerwonka from West Plains, is looking to leave the district.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports that Long is a finalist for the superintendent’s job in the Mountain Home School District in Baxter County, Arkansas.

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