The East Valley Institute of Technology found a way to get Superintendent Dr. Chad Wilson back to work despite the automatic suspension of his fingerprint clearance card for his indictment on theft and misuse of public money.
Wilson, 49, who was promoted from interim superintendent to superintendent in July, has been reassigned to a new position that doesn’t require the card, director of external affairs.
The state requires most teachers and superintendents to carry the card if a criminal background check using their fingerprints shows they have no been convicted of most crimes.
Dana Kuhn, who previously was an assistant principal at EVIT, was promoted to interim superintendent, a position she is expected to fill until Wilson regains his fingerprint identification card.
The suspension of Wilson’s card left his job in a precarious situation.
His contract requires him to possess the card as a condition of employment, said Kevin Koelbel, EVIT’s director of legal services.
Koelbel acknowledged the job switch is a work-around, intended to get Wilson back to work after he took 16 days of personal leave when the card was suspended.
EVIT’s intention is for Wilson and Kuhn to return to their usual jobs eventually after Wilson regains his card, Koelbel said.
Originally, it was hoped Wilson would regain the card much faster, after an expedited administrative review on Oct. 18, before the Arizona Board of Fingerprinting.
But the state board declined to restore Wilson’s card without a full hearing, which could take three or four months.
Koelbel said it is possible that Wilson’s criminal case in Pinal County Superior Court could be cleared up before the fingerprinting board rules on his case.
Kuhn was filling in for Wilson, anyway, while he was off-campus. In return for her added responsibilities, Kuhn is receiving a stipend as compensation.
“We have regular leadership team meetings where educators get together to toss around ideas,’’ Koelbel said. “The board wants to let Wilson’s due process play out.’’
Because of that reason, Wilson’s pay also was not reduced, he said.
In addition, the board has recognized that Wilson’s alleged misdeeds had no connection to EVIT and that the charges stem from his actions while serving as superintendent of Apache Junction schools.
The obstacle with the fingerprint card is another complication from the board’s decision to retain Wilson, despite his indictment.
That indictment stems from a state Auditor General’s Office investigation of Apache School Unified School District records.
The state Attorney General’s Office used the audit to obtain charges of misuse of public monies, alleging that Wilson arranged for $133,223 in payments not authorized by the Apache Junction Governing Board to administrators during a five-year period, from 2012 to 2016.
The $126,000 in “performance payments’’ went to 11 to 15 administrators, while another $3,880 was spent on “professional development instruction,’’ and $2,550 was spent on paying three administrators to attend athletic events on Friday nights.
Wilson himself received $480 in unauthorized payments, according to the Auditor General’s report.
Despite the indictment and the case pending in Pinal County Superior Court, the EVIT board voted to retain Wilson, with additional financial safeguards in place.
An administrator from a Tucson vocational school was loaned to EVIT to handle financial duties.