By Sally Absher


When Dr. McIntyre was hired as Superintendent of Knox County Schools back in 2008, he was hailed for his stellar financial management of the Boston Public Schools. He served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Boston district, where he was responsible for the day to day operations of the school district.  He had also served as the Budget Director for the Boston Public Schools for seven years.

This was apparently more important than McIntyre’s teaching experience, or lack thereof, which consisted of 9 months teaching English, anatomy, and physical education to a diverse group of at-risk students between the ages of 16-21 at Vincent Grey Alternative High School in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Recent stories in the news suggest that perhaps Dr. McIntyre should focus on his field of expertise. News emanating from the Andrew Johnson Building shows a system rife with allegations of financial wrong-doing. Over the past two years, several members of the AJ staff have been put on administrative leave with pay or “retired,” and just last week, another Central Office administrator was terminated.

In August, it was reported that administrative secretary Tina Needham had been on paid administrative leave for over two years.  During that time, she collected her $27,555 annual salary, plus $7300 annually in benefits. In November 2013, KCS offered Needham $10,000 to resign, in exchange for an agreement that she would not file a lawsuit. She did not respond, and continued to collect her salary/benefits. This summer she sought a $50,000 settlement, and KCS countered with $30,000.

In September, Needham filed a federal workplace discrimination complaint against the school system, taking the $30,000 offer off the table. The issue is still not settled.

Also in September, it was reported that the state is investigating KCS Executive Director of School Nutrition Jon Dickl for allegations connected to the misuse of funds. Dickl, who makes $100,800/year, was placed on administrative leave with pay over allegations of the possible personal use of two $500 gift cards designated for food services, and  connections a school vendor has to a car dealership that may have sold Dickl a deeply discount vehicle.

Just last week, accounts payable supervisor for Knox County Schools Roger Underwood was terminated for allegedly using a school system credit card for personal purchases, which he admitted to before he was fired. Underwood’s annual salary is $96,074.

And former schools security chief Steve Griffin resigned by retirement from the system in May 2013 after an independent investigation showed he had a personal relationship with Mike Walker, president of Professional Security Consultants and Design. PSCD held the security contract with KCS from 2006 through 2011. There were numerous reports of malfunctions with the security system provided by PSCD. Griffin earned $90,450 at the time of his retirement.

Keep those salaries in mind the next time Dr. McIntyre and his PR folks tell you they’ve cut all the excess and waste from Central Office. Why are administrators earning nearly six-figure salaries being paid not to work while new programs don’t get funded, school buildings are in need of repair, and teachers don’t get raises?