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Feb 26, 2010 4:28 PM by James Jarman

Parents accuse school district of nepotism

Several parents and a school district insider say they want an outside audit of the Ellicott School District administration.

Accusations of nepotism over the past 6 months, have led to concerns involving the district's budget.

Carey Adams raised questions in October after finding a district financial error involving her son.  The district claimed he qualified for free lunches, which Adams knew wasn't true, because she says she and her husband are "well off" thanks to lucrative real estate deals.  They moved to Ellicott 7 years ago, and she now runs the non-profit God's Pantry in Fountain, which provides free and discounted clothes and food to the poor.

She found out the school district error was made by the business manager's assistant, who was also the business manager's daughter.  "And I said 'well we can't have family members counting the money in our district, that doesn't seem right,'" it was a concern she brought up at an October 2009 school board meeting and then again this month, after she found out the manager's daughter was given a different position called a substitute filer.

News First 5 has received a half dozen calls and emails on this issue from concerned parents and a teacher, most asked to remain anonymous, fearing district retaliation against them and/or their children.

The district's own ethics policy forbids employees from supervising immediate family members.

School superintendent Terry Ebert says the employee in question is not currently employed by the district.  He says she was temporarily filling in while the district searched for a permanent employee. 

In an October 2009 letter to Adams he said the issue was "discussed with the district's auditor and we are following his advice regarding the use of an interim employee."

Ebert said he couldn’t meet with News First 5 before the posting of this story, but an interview is planned.  We will post the update here when that happens.

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