School District 51 Superintendent Out Following Investigation
The superintendent of Mesa County Valley School District 51 is out of a job following the release of an investigative report.
The District 51 Board of Education released the findings of a third party investigation Friday (August 31) at a public meeting. The board also unanimously approved a separation agreement with District Superintendent Dr. Ken Haptonstall effective immediately.
The investigation was prompted by a Grand Junction Daily Sentinel story that reported the reorganization of positions and salary increases totaled $1.2 million.
Prior to the reorganization, Haptonstall projected an increase in district salaries of approximately $500,000. Following the investigation, the reorganization and salary structure resulted in the net effect of "an increase of nine administrative positions and $946,322 in salary costs."
The report also chastised the Board of Education for failing to demonstrate leadership and exercise appropriate oversight over Haptonstall and the budget.
The investigation found a systematic communication failure in the organization (school district) during the Spring 2018 budget process and reorganization. Specifically,
Haptonstall, the Board, HR and Finance all experienced difficulties in keeping each component fully informed about critical issues of importance. The right questions were not being asked, and answers were not provided proactively when those questions never arose. In many cases, concerns were not acknowledged or were minimized, either through inattention or lack of understanding, resulting in negative consequences.
The investigative report also addressed the negative perception and distrust of both district employees and the public following the Daily Sentinel's story about the significant increase in salaries for upper level administration employees.
At the Friday night meeting, the Board of Education did not offer any information on the search for a new District 51 Superintendent.