NW superintendent investigation ongoing, supporters want more info

No action has been taken by the Northwestern Board of Education as it continues its investigation into the district’s superintendent and no further related special meetings have been scheduled as of Monday afternoon.

The board is investigating allegations of unprofessional conduct raised about Superintendent Jesse Steiner, according to a statement from the board’s attorney. The board has repeatedly declined to detail the allegations.

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The Springfield News-Sun has requested the personnel file of Steiner and copies of any complaints filed against him. No complaints were found in his personnel record and Northwestern School Board Treasurer Dave Bollheimer said no paperwork about the allegations exists.

“I have not seen such a document, nor am I aware of such a document existing,” he said.

The News-Sun requested emails and notes by board members about the investigation and Bollheimer said he wasn’t aware of any of such documents and forwarded the request to school board President Donna Myers and the school’s attorney.

Neither responded to the public records request by deadline.

The board met Saturday for a more than a five-hour executive session, the second special meeting in a week called to “consider the investigation of complaints against a public employee.” Board members declined to discuss the investigation on Saturday.

A regular board meeting is scheduled for Thursday night but no further special meetings dealing with an investigation had been called by Monday afternoon.

READ MORE: Northwestern to discuss complaints amid superintendent probe

Steiner is being paid, Myers said, and he hasn’t been put on leave. His contract says he is due to make more than $125,000 this school year. Myers hasn’t responded to questions about whether or not he’s using vacation or personal time while not reporting to work.

The superintendent wasn’t at the board meeting Saturday and Myers has said he hasn’t been coming to work since Nov. 26. About a dozen supporters attended the meeting, including Jay Skrabacz, who knows Steiner and said the superintendent should be treated better.

Steiner deserves to know what the allegations are against him so that he can answer them, Skrabacz said, instead of being told to stay off campus.

“I truly believe that the board in this situation should have at least given us some idea of what is going on,” Skrabacz said. “Why is the superintendent of this district who has done so much and has brought so much to this community being put in a position like this?”

The community should suspend judgment on the superintendent until more information is released, Skrabacz said, adding that some social media are making unfounded accusations.

“Jesse Steiner is a great man,” Skrabacz said. “He is a family man. He is a great husband and father.”

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The Springfield News-Sun first broke the news Northwestern is investigating allegations of unprofessional conduct raised about its superintendent on Dec. 9 and have provided several updates since then.

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