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School board considers audit into Kadri's use of grants

By Greg Smith

Publication: theday.com

Published September 21. 2012 3:00PM   Updated September 21. 2012 11:46PM

Groton — The Board of Education will meet Monday to consider a forensic audit of the use of school district grant funds in light of recent allegations that Superintendent Paul Kadri attempted to misappropriate grant money.

The allegations were revealed during an investigation into claims Kadri was abusive in his treatment of employees, particularly women. The results of the investigation led the school board to consider firing Kadri, who has been out on paid administrative leave since May.

Kadri has denied the claims, and his attorney, Gregg D. Adler, says he plans to call for a hearing to dispute the allegations. He has yet to make that request.

The concern over use of the grant funds arose during the investigator's interview with Dana Parfitt, the former school grants facilitator. Parfitt left the district in 2009.

"She reported that Mr... Kadri did not appreciate that grants were issued subject to strict statutory and regulatory requirement," the report states. "Mrs. Parfitt was concerned that Mr. Kadri was asking her to misstate the manner in which funds were to be used, or had been used."

There are no specific examples listed in the report, prepared by investigator William T. Blake, but Parfitt told Blake that she often would have to tell Kadri that the school district could not use the money for what he was suggesting.

Parfitt stopped meeting Kadri alone because she wanted a witness in the event the legality of a grant expenditure was called into question, according to the report.

The Board of Education has called a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the school administration building "for the purpose of considering and possibly taking action," on the authorization of a forensic audit.

School board Chairwoman Kirsten Hoyt said Friday the board is considering the audit to ensure that all of the money was used for its intended purpose and there was no violation of the law. If the school board decided it wanted an audit, Hoyt said they would first have to solicit proposals for the work. An estimate on the cost of the work was not available.

The school board also plans to discuss and possibly announce on Monday the hiring of a new interim superintendent. The board conducted several interviews last week in anticipation of the departure of interim superintendent Randall Collins on Friday.

Adler, in an email, said that in reading the report it does not appear there is actually an allegation of improper use of funds. He said he found it hard to believe that conversations that occurred more than three years ago "could possibly justify a forensic audit."

Hoyt, in a Sept. 10 letter notifying Kadri about his possible termination, cited "insubordination against the rules or orders of the Board, moral misconduct and other due and sufficient cause."

Kadri was hired in 2008. His current contract expires on June 30, 2014. Kadri is still being paid his $167,475 yearly salary.

g.smith@theday.com

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