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Clay County superintendent under fire

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Updated: 10/09/2013 11:50 pm
ORANGE PARK, Fla.-- A local school superintendent is under fire again.

An Internet page has Clay County school board members feeling left out about how taxpayer money is being spent.

"It's unfortunate things are being hidden and kept from the board," said Chairman Carol Studdard.

We've learned the Dare to Think event is a collaboration between a group called the Report Card and Superintendent Charlie Van Zant. It's an event several board members we talked to knew nothing about.

"It's a concern when there is a co- sponsorship, or agreement made without the board knowledge," said Studdard.  

We went to district spokesman Gavin Rollins to find out why several board members knew nothing about the superintendent's plan. "We partner with lots of organizations," said Rollins.

Rollins said not every one is required to be approved by the board. "The superintendent acted within his role," said Rollins.

This isn't the first the time the superintendent has spent money without telling the board about it. As we told you last month, a motivational speaker filed a $7,000 lawsuit, saying a contract was broken by the district. But the board voted the contract down, before the speaker ever came. The district maintains there was no contract.

The school board president said the board can't afford to keep having these battles with the superintendent. "It's embarrassing that I even have to talk to you today," said Studdard.

We've learned the head of the organization, Bill Korach, who is also vice chair of the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee, paid back the $2,000 to the district. The school board is set to talk about this educational conference at its meeting Tuesday.
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Clay Parent - 11/1/2013 3:00 PM
0 Votes
It is still amazing that some still want to try to convince the ignorant puplic that Van Zant was elected by the majority of Clay County in an ethical election. Van Zant should get credit for having great political stategy but it was won by the majority of less than 22% of the Republican elgible voters and the Democrats and Independents could not vote. IT IS THE DUTY of any school board in the state of Florida to monitor ALL employees of the school system with regards to any inappropriation of funds or representation of the district. Just because someone claims to be a Christian and goes to church regularly does not exempt that person from the legal or public responsibilities representing that office.

clay voice - 10/11/2013 11:42 AM
0 Votes
Public records show that Van Zant Junior signed the contract for the rental of Thrasher Horne, and that Junior initiated the purchase order for the rental. Only after the advertising appeared on the District's website, and the Board began questioning the District's rental, did Korach reimburse the District for the rental. The District is liable for what happens at the conference - as it is the DISTRICT that has contractually rented the space - NOT Korach's business. Payment was REQUESTED by Junior Van Zant. That is a matter of public record. One has to question why Junior would "co-sponsor" an event, run by Korach (who has no experience in education with any school system), hand The Report Card the District's insurance liability, the District's 25% discount at Trasher Horne, their tax exempt status, and pre-pay the cost of the facility. Again, only after the Board found out about the conference, did Korach suddenly reimburse the District. Then, there is the matter of the political views expressed on the Report Card blog. In St. Augustine (where Korach is a member of the Tea Party and the Vice Chair of the REC) the St. Johns School Board refused to co-sponsor this conference with Korach. Junior Van Zant is not to be "commended for wanting to raise the bar in history". He should be brought up on ethics charges for abusing his position as Superintendent to push his personal, political, partisan agenda.

wkorach - 10/10/2013 2:50 PM
0 Votes
I am the Publisher of The Report Card and the "Dare to Think" conference co-sponsor with the Clay County School District. From the beginning I assumed full financial responsibility for the conference. Superintendent van Zant never planned to pay for the cost of the Thrasher-Horne rental. How payment was approved I do not know, but I reimbursed the district immediately. The entire purpose of the conference is to discuss how to strengthen American History and American Exceptionalism. The NAEP says that only 12% of American high school students are proficient in history, so Superintendent van Zant is to be commended for wanting to raise the bar in history.

lucyjones7831 - 10/10/2013 12:57 PM
0 Votes
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RiverRat - 10/10/2013 8:24 AM
0 Votes
The duty of the Board is to set policy and ensure that policy is adhered to, not to micromanage the District.

KpClayGovHnest - 10/9/2013 11:11 PM
0 Votes
Carol Studdard and her bunch (Janice Kerekes, and Tina Bullock) are upset because Charlie Van Zant was honestly elected, by the people of Clay County, within the well-established election laws, over the former superintendent they all supported for re-election. The problem is Team Studdard, not the current Superintendent. There is nothing to the story that Chairman “Mao Tse” Studdard did not make up to further her personal agenda to smear the good name of the Superintendent. The story clearly and factually stated the Superintendent is within his authority to do what he has done here. Mrs. Studdard is the one who should be embarrassed. For one example, just look at how she treated me for questioning the $36,000.00, no-bid, no-show contract between the CCSB, and the School Board Attorney’s WIFE – a nepotistic contract that costs the School District $3,000.00 every month, 12 months a year since 2006 or so. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asx-xFq1OSw&feature=c4-overview&list=UUPufhN3Bhe4dA8dkdHq3nhg
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