AP NEWS

Crestwood Superintendent, Administrator Suspended Over Bus Driverclearances

October 31, 2018 GMT

WRIGHT TWP. — The superintendent of the Crestwood School District and a top administrator have been suspended following last’s week revelation that bus drivers lacked background clearances.

Superintendent Joseph Gorham confirmed he and Chief of District Operations Christopher Gegaris were notified Tuesday afternoon they are being placed on paid leave as the district continues an investigation into the oversight that caused school to be canceled for several days.

“I was notified I would be on paid administrative leave until they could conduct an investigation internally to verify all the information I have presented so far,” Gorham said. “My reaction is it’s not a great day in my life; however, I understand the position the district has taken.”

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale last week revealed drivers for the Rinehimer Bus Company, which has the Crestwood busing contract, did not have up-to-date background clearances. He said the responsibility to compile and maintain such records ultimately falls on the district’s administrators and school board, not the bus company.

Gorham deflected blame when asked if the clearance issue was his fault.

“I think time will tell there are certain things we are responsible for and there are other items that are clearly beyond my purview,” Gorham said.

Efforts to reach Gegaris were not immediately successful.

Gorham said he and Gegaris were called into a board room around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and notified by district solicitor Jack Dean that they were being placed on paid leave amid the investigation.

Assistant Superintendent Joseph Rasmus is now in charge, officials said.

Dean declined to speak about the issue.

“Neither myself or the board comment on any personnel issues,” Dean said.

Last week, members of the school board threatened to cancel the bus company’s contract. However, the contract remained in place as of Tuesday and all drivers had their clearances updated, Dean said.

“They all have their clearances as of this weekend,” Dean said.

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bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com,

570-821-2055, @cvbobkal