Blue Earth Area School District officials aren’t making it easy to find out if a former third-grade teacher was allowed to work after being charged with misdemeanor domestic assault.
Superintendent Evan Gough and the district attorney’s, Michelle Kenney, have denied requests from Tripleanews.com to obtain time card information or other data the district uses for payroll purposes.
On May 16, Steven Wood was arrested at his home Winnebago after a police officer responded to a 911 call.
In addition to the criminal charge, Gough has said school officials were investigating a written complaint filed by someone within the district.
Gough says he’s unable to release information regarding Wood’s employment hours from May 16 to the end of the school year.
He says the payroll information requested is private personnel data that is protected under state’s Data Practices Act, section 13.43
“The data you request is not accessible to you,” says Kenney. “Dr. Gough’s response was appropriate.”
But, an official with the Minnesota Department Administration says district officials must provide the data.
“That payroll timesheet data are public pursuant to the provision that you cited and you should be able to receive access,” says Taya Moxley-Goldsmith, of the Information Policy Analysis Division.
“Have the district contact me if they have questions about that provision,” she adds.
During their monthly meeting, School Board members unanimously accepted Steven Wood’s letter of resignation effective Sept. 12. They also approved a separation agreement to pay him $19,731.
In a plea bargain, Wood agreed to a continuance for dismissal.
That means the case has been put on hold for nine months with conditions that he have no same or similar assaultive behavior and pay a $585 fine. He faced a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.