Richland School Board superintendent’s conduct investigated

December 7, 2012 

The Richland School Board is investigating Superintendent Jim Busey for allegations he's had an inappropriate relationship with a district staffer, the Herald has learned.

Board Chairman Rick Jansons confirmed Friday that the board has been conducting the investigation for weeks, but he declined to provide further details about the situation because it is a personnel matter and still being reviewed.

No district employees have been terminated or placed on leave as a result of the investigation, and it is unknown when it will be concluded, Jansons said.

Jansons said he would be transparent and open about the investigation as soon as it is complete.

When contacted Friday, Busey provided the following statement: "I am aware of the issues and am working with the board in the best interest of the district."

Amanda Stegen, a parent of a student at Jefferson Elementary School, confirmed to the Herald that she and other parents were aware Busey was having a relationship with a staff member at the school and had concerns about it.

However, Stegen said she and other parents only learned of the relationship recently and did not report it to the board or to anyone else.

Their hesitation stemmed from a concern that Jefferson Elementary -- a school initially set to be closed in a $98 million bond proposal but now will remain open after parents at the school expressed concern about the closure -- would be targeted for retaliation or its supporters viewed as attempting to pressure the district.

"We didn't want anyone to think we wanted something," Stegen said. "We didn't want to make a wave."

Jansons said the board is committed to fully investigating, but the bond is a separate and unrelated matter.

"We fully believe the public will look at the bond on its own merits," he said.

Busey was one of two finalists when he was hired as superintendent in February 2010, replacing retiring Superintendent Jean Lane. He earns $156,810 annually.

Before coming to Richland, Busey was superintendent for the Lake Chelan School District beginning in 2000. His first position as superintendent was in the Zillah School District, where he served as a teacher, coach and administrator.

Busey and his wife, Rebecca, filed for divorce Nov. 20, according to court documents. They have one adult son and two grandchildren.

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