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High School dean challenges board member over 2007 reprimand letter

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm

By Ken Jackson

Staff Writer

The Osceola County School District is in the middle of an investigation involving a current School Board member and its former head of human resources who is now an Osceola High School administrative dean.

District spokesperson Dana Schafer said this week that investigators should be able to finalize their findings next week regarding a missing letter of reprimand placed in the personnel file of board member Barbara Horn in 2007, when she was a bookkeeper at Mill Creek Elementary.

Stuart Singer, the district’s human relations director from 2004-11 and now the freshman class dean at OHS, said the letter had disappeared from Horn’s file when he filed a public records request to view it earlier this fall.

The letter, a copy of a concern and complaint letter dated April 17, 2007, according to district Human Resources officials, was re-submitted in October of this year, and the investigation centers on where the original copy of the document went and how it was removed.

Emails obtained by the News-Gazette show that Singer sent an email to School Superintendent Melba Luciano on Oct. 29 requesting an investigation into the missing reprimand letter. In the email, he stated that during an appointment to see Horn’s file on Oct. 11, he was made to view the file in the board’s chambers under the supervision of Horn and Board Attorney Larry Brown, which was not district policy during his Human Resources tenure, he said.

“I was advised there had not been any change in the policy previously in force and effect until the moment of my request to view the Horn files,” his email read. “I cannot see how the process for public access to view the personnel file of a former employee could be changed simply because the former employee now serves as a School Board member.”

He also, in the email, said a log maintained of those who access a file showed “singular access by Horn” twice since June 3, 2008. Horn, asked by the News-Gazette this week for comment, said she was waiting on the results of the investigation to comment fully, but that she “never had the opportunity to remove anything from my file.”

At the School Board’s Oct. 15 meeting, it voted on Singer’s nomination as a dean at Osceola High. It passed 4-1, with Horn casting the dissenting vote. At the board’s Nov. 5 meeting, Singer appeared during the public comment segment to address Horn publicly, saying that when she was first running for election in the 2010 voting cycle, “She told people she was going to fire me.”

“Barbara bullied me and every employee in the district office who she had a personal vendetta against,” he said. “I want the world to know that was not true professionalism.”