- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

BAKER, La. (AP) - The Baker School Board has voted to accept Superintendent Ulysses Joseph’s resignation, effective May 28.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1ImakH1 ) it’s the latest turn of events for a school system facing the arrest of a former maintenance supervisor and possible state takeover of one of its schools.

Joseph, who has held the position for four years and whose contract was not due to expire until December, said after the meeting his resignation is not related to the arrest of former Baker School system maintenance supervisor Emmitt Whitfield, 47, whom he directly supervised.

Earlier on Tuesday, Whitfield was booked for a third time - and the city’s police chief said more arrests may be pending as new details emerge about the extent of his alleged thefts from the school system.

The latest police report indicates that Joseph and his audit team have been forwarding their findings to the police department.

The Tuesday arrest, on counts of felony theft and unauthorized use of a credit card, stems from the more than $2,100 in fuel charges Whitfield billed as part of his work with Baker schools, but that turned out to be for personal use, Police Chief Mike Knaps said.

As for the superintendent, Joseph said his resignation is due to a lack of support from the school board.

“They were slack sometimes in approving things I wanted to do. If you can’t get what you need, you have to get out of the ball game,” he said.

The school board also could have done more to help him improve Bakerfield Elementary, Joseph said.

Bakerfield Elementary has received a grade of F from the state Department of Education for the past four years, making it eligible for takeover by the Recovery School District in 2015-16.

“We talked about Bakerfield two or three years ago. If we had done something then, we wouldn’t be in the position we are now,” he said.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com


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