Richland School Board places superintendent on paid leave

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldDecember 12, 2012 

Richland School District Superintendent Jim Busey has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a district staffer.

Busey was absent from the Richland School Board meeting Tuesday night and board Chairman Rick Jansons told the Herald after the meeting about the board's decision to place the leader of the 11,600-student district on leave. No other district staff members were placed on leave because of the investigation.

Jansons said "the board is working with diligence and speed" to finish the investigation, which could take another two weeks. Busey was placed on leave Monday.

Jansons declined further comment about the matter, saying the case is a personnel matter. Busey told the Herald last week he is cooperating with the district in the investigation.

The Herald learned about the investigation of Busey's inappropriate relationship Friday. Jansons said the board brought in an outside attorney to investigate the allegations weeks ago.

It's unclear how the board learned of the allegations. A parent at Jefferson Elementary School confirmed to the Herald that she and other parents had recently learned Busey was reportedly conducting a relationship with a staff member at the school off George Washington Way.

That parent said she and others at the school did not report the relationship to the district, fearing backlash against the school. Jefferson Elementary was originally going to be closed as part of the district's $98 million bond proposal, which goes before voters in February. The board has since agreed to keep Jefferson open.

Jansons has said he will be open and transparent about the investigation once it is concluded.

Busey has been with the district for nearly three years. He previously served as a superintendent in two other Washington school districts before arriving in the Tri-Cities. He makes $156,810 annually.

-- Ty Beaver 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter @_tybeaver

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