Richland School Board to meet today to address probe of superintendent

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldDecember 21, 2012 

The Richland School Board will meet in a closed-door session today to discuss an investigation of Superintendent Jim Busey.

The meeting comes after Busey told the Herald on Wednesday that the district previously investigated him for having a relationship with a district employee and found no issues but now is trying to remove him with a buyout offer.

School board Chairman Rick Jansons denied those claims and said the investigation never was finished. However, he said he could not talk more because the investigation is ongoing.

Jansons told the Herald he expects today's meeting on the situation with Busey could last a few hours and the district's attorney will be present. Whether the board will meet in open session afterward is possible but not certain, said Jansons.

Busey was put on paid administrative leave Dec. 10, just days after knowledge of the district's investigation of him became public in a Herald story.

Busey said it all stems from the district receiving a complaint about him having an inappropriate relationship with an employee who works in one of the elementary schools.

Busey contends the relationship was not improper, and he claims the district wasn't concerned until it became public.

He said he wants to remain superintendent but if he can't, he wants to be compensated for the rest of his contract, which would be about $400,000. He said a settlement offer he's received doesn't reach that amount.

Busey has 21/2 years left on his contract, which pays him almost $157,000 a year.

Jansons said the investigation of Busey's relationship is not over and the district has not offered Busey a buyout.

The chairman also said he is disappointed that Busey spoke to the Herald before the investigation is concluded and questioned Busey's ability to continue as superintendent.

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

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