Board member's calls for Burke investigation "over"

Cory O'Donnell

Board member's calls for Burke investigation "over"

CREATED Mar. 6, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Tuesday’s board meeting was polite; a contrast from the name calling and finger pointing seen at the previous two meetings.

On Friday, Superintendent Joseph Burke released a detailed, eight page letter defending himself against accusations made by board member Jane Kuckel.

Kuckel called for an investigation into Burke twice claiming that he misappropriated money and gave an employee unearned sick days to a district employee.

That was voted down twice after heated arguments that divided the board.

On Tuesday, Fox 4 asked Kuckel about Burke's letter. She shook her head "no" indicating she wouldn't comment.

Burke also declined to comment on the letter he released to the board in response to Kuckel's claims.

But Kuckel did release a statement saying:

"The majority of the board at the last meeting through their vote indicated that they did not have concerns with the issues that I raised. It is over," Kuckel wrote. "Continuing it on only serves to be divisive and drive a bigger wedge among board members."

But that wedge seems to have disappeared with no mention of Burke's letter Tuesday and only passing references to the board's previous fights.

"There were issues raised by the board," said Burke, "and we do want to clear those up."

Burke has called for a state audit to see if the district is misappropriating money. On Tuesday, board member Don Armstrong called for a second, more costly audit to be done.

"I recognize he [Burke] has asked the state," said Armstrong, "but I do not think they can come down and do a detailed [forensic] audit which is what we need."

In the end the board agreed to wait to see how the state's audit plays out.

"Maybe we should wait for that audit," said Kuckel. "And see what's missing."

Matt Grant