FFA teacher accepts 20-day suspension in settlement
Jay Kennedy, an agriculture teacher, had been on administrative leave with pay since March 13 on charges of possible misappropriation of FFA funds. His legal team said the issue came down to his lousy bookkeeping skills.
“I think you will find a rededicated Jay Kennedy in the classroom,” Kennedy said after the meeting, tears forming in his eyes. “Someday I hope to have the community’s faith in me justified.”
The school board unanimously approved the settlement, which states:
-- Kennedy acknowledges “that he failed to follow the written and oral directives of his principal regarding depositing FFA cash into school district FFA accounts, failed to follow school district policies regarding handling FFA funds, failed to keep accurate records of FFA funds, and failed to follow other written directives of his principal regarding the execution of his duties as FFA adviser, and the board has made no findings on whether funds were inappropriately used or taken for personal gain or profit.”
-- Kennedy will accept a 20-day unpaid suspension for the 2008-09 school year, and the salary due for the suspension—$4,713—will be deducted from his final paychecks. Kennedy also agreed to pay back $896 in health and dental insurance premiums.
-- Kennedy will not return to the classroom this school year, but will be allowed to resume his FFA adviser duties effective Monday, the first day of the state FFA convention in Madison, where he plans to take five students.
-- Kennedy agreed he will not handle any funds relating to any FFA activity. The school district will create a co-curricular position for the 2009-10 school year titled “FFA financial officer.” Kennedy’s adviser stipend would be reduced to pay for the added position.
The issue came to light in early March when an Evansville business contacted the district about an unpaid bill for FFA T-shirts, district co-superintendent Steve Lutzke told the board.
Lutzke spoke with Kennedy, who said he didn’t have the money to pay for the shirts, Lutzke said. The shirts were to be paid from student dues, but as Kennedy collected that money, he spent it on other FFA expenses, Lutzke said.
The situation revealed a pattern of not following policy of recording expenses and spending cash from fundraisers on expenses before depositing and recording the earnings, administrators detailed.