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HSD Emails Shine A Light On Why Former Superintendent Steve Price Was Fired

Emails members of the media requested, reveal concerns regarding unaccounted for funds, an unhappy school board and frustrated teachers.

The Hazelwood School District (HSD) did not formally announce why superintendent Steve Price was fired. It would only say it was a confidential personnel matter and the district was "moving in another direction."

Still people emailed wanting to know why, especially last week .

Copies of emails the St. Louis Post Dispatch requested via the Missouri Freedom of Information Law reveal turmoil in the days before Price was fired.

He faced questions from the HSD Board of Education about a substantial surplus of money in the budget, declining test scores and tensions with staff.

According to the emails, board member Desiree Whitlock emailed price more than a dozen issues the week before he was fired, regarding teachers feeling in danger of losing their jobs and money accountability.

To read excerpts of the emails click here for the full St. Louis Post Dispatch report. 

The week after Price’s firing, a $9 million budget surplus was announced that averages a 5 percent raise for teachers and other employees. The surplus is due to expenditures coming in 4 percent under budget at the end of the  2011-12 school year, combined with more revenue than expected.

YouBetterThink November 13, 2012 at 05:39 PM
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YouBetterThink November 13, 2012 at 05:45 PM
This still strikes me as rather curious and raises many more questions than the media seems to be sharing. Why wouldn't the School Board hold the Treasurer more directly accountable for this mistake? Why isnt the School Board conducting more frequent and regular reviews of the budget so that these kinds of errors are caught more proactively? Seems like the School Board might just have scape-goated Price to avoid any scrutiny on them as the Board as apparently asleep at the wheel regarding the budget. Also, is it really surprising that teachers may feel threatened by a Superintendent who, in all likelihood, was holding them more accountable and striving to raise the bar on teacher performance? Isnt this exactly what we want a Superintendent to do? Something still sounds very fishy here to me.
K November 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I have to agree with Sonny. Steve Price did not come with the best of reputations, and this is not the first time he was fired before completing a contract and got a pay out to leave. Taken from StLToday: "He had previously served as the superintendent for seven years in Middletown City Schools, a district of about 7,000 students in Ohio. Price was criticized here over student discipline problems and the cost and effectiveness of a program on race and equity. He left Middletown after a separation agreement in which he resigned two years before his contract expired. The district agreed to pay him $10,417 a month for 12 months."
YouBetterThink November 14, 2012 at 02:57 PM
It still keeps taking me back to the School Board on this one. Why would the Board be so ignorant to hire someone who is this obviously unqualified, if that was the case? Why was the Board not requiring a more regular review of the budget? Why would the Board not hold the Treasurer accountable as well? It does not make sense that they would fire the Superintendent but keep the very same guy who made this budget error to begin with. It just sounds rather fishy to me.
Sonny Pondrom November 14, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Good points. Makes me think that the budget was not the real reason.

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