- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Education has filed an ethics complaint against Davenport’s school superintendent, saying the district openly broke the law by using money in a reserve account to pay for ongoing programming.

The complaint was filed with the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners after district officials appeared Tuesday before the state’s School Budget Review Committee. The school district was asked to appear before the committee because it has spent $1.6 million of its estimated $20 million reserve fund.

Superintendent Art Tate declined to comment on the complaint, the Quad-City Times (https://bit.ly/2gS5b6E ) reported.

In the past, Tate and school board members have cited a funding inequity in the state’s system that allows some districts to spend more money per pupil. Some school districts in the state can spend up to $175 more than Davenport per pupil, so the city used reserve funds to make up that difference for its students.

“His heart is in the right place in doing this, and it’s all for the students,” Davenport School Board Vice President Linda Hayes said of Tate. “It has nothing to do with self-gain. It’s all for equity.”

Education department spokeswoman Staci Hupp said action against the district was taken quickly because it was clear to state officials that Davenport was breaking the law. The district planned to use up to $2.7 million from the reserve fund over three years, creating a “negative unspent balance” that is not allowed by Iowa law.

Ann Lebo, executive director of the state Board of Educational Examiners, and board attorney Darcy Hathaway will have to review the issued complaint, at which time Tate’s case could either be rejected or accepted and investigated. Lebo gave no concrete timeline for Tate’s case beyond the 180-day guideline created by the state for the complaint process.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

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