Ki-Be school district administrator allegedly sells school property on eBay

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldJune 12, 2013 

BENTON CITY -- A Kiona-Benton City School District administrator has been placed on leave and could face felony charges for allegedly selling district equipment on eBay for thousands of dollars.

Mark Noyes, the district's maintenance and operations director, is accused of selling 10 sensors that control heating and cooling systems at $500 apiece, a camera for about $30 and an undisclosed amount of paper.

Noyes was put on leave Monday with the district after a closed-door school board session. He has been with the district since February 2010 and made $69,000 last year, according to district officials. The Herald attempted to contact Noyes at his listed home phone number, but it was disconnected.

A Kiona-Benton City school board member, whom district officials declined to identify, tipped off detectives this spring about the suspected thefts.

Benton County sheriff's deputies investigated and are recommending Noyes be charged with theft and trafficking in stolen property, said Lt. Chuck Jones. The recommendation is being sent to Benton County prosecutors to decide if charges will be filed.

He has not been arrested, Jones said.

Jones said the sheriff's office was told of Noyes' suspected theft in late April. Investigators got a warrant for records from the online auction site eBay and found evidence linking the administrator to the thefts, he said.

Jones said the items were sold across three years.

Acting school board Chairman Tim Cook said the district will have more information about the investigation and Noyes' employment status with the district in about a week.

"We're going through everything right now," he said.

The criminal investigation is the latest in a series of internal problems facing the school district, including recent state auditor findings and a continued acrimonious relationship with the teachers' union.

Cook said the district is working to resolve issues, but that "it's just going to take some time to get to the light at the end of the tunnel."

Also Monday, board Chairman Charles Gray resigned his leadership position, though he will remain on the board.

The longtime school board member said being chairman takes a lot of time, and he has family matters to attend to. However, he still plans to seek re-election in the August primary.

Cook is serving as the board's acting chairman until officer elections are held at the board's next meeting June 24.

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