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Moon Area board says little on superintendent being put on leave, CFO's departure

| Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, 10:00 p.m.
Moon Area School District Superintendant Curt Baker addresses the school board and audience at a meeting in August 2015.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Moon Area School District Superintendant Curt Baker addresses the school board and audience at a meeting in August 2015.

After months of talking about what they said were problems in the Moon Area School District, newly seated school board members on Tuesday had little to say about why they put the district's superintendent on paid leave.

School directors also hesitated to discuss the resignation of Margaret Lindsey, the district's chief financial officer.

“We made decisions we felt were in the best interest of the district,” said Jerry Testa, who was elected president of the nine-member board Monday.

Superintendent Curt Baker could return to his job, depending on findings of an audit the board approved, board member Mark Scappe said.

The board hired Wilke and Associates LLP to perform a special audit at a cost of $125 an hour, not to exceed $37,500. Moon Area has a $68.26 million budget for 2015-16. The school district serves 3,700 students in Moon and Crescent.

Scappe and other board members declined to discuss Lindsey's Dec. 3 resignation or the contents of her resignation letter, though Testa said, “I strongly disagree with allegations in her letter,” but he wouldn't disclose them.

Reached Tuesday, Lindsey did not explain why she resigned or discuss her letter. She worked with Baker in the Roanoke City Public Schools in Virginia and was hired at Moon Area in April 2014.

Testa said Moon Academy, a special education program, is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Michael Hauser, board vice president, and six other board members voted to put Baker on administrative leave and end an agreement with Special Education and Behavioral Connections LLC, which has been running preschool services at the former Hyde Elementary School.

Baker's contract runs through November 2017. He's paid $168,518 annually and was given a raise last month.

Rick Wills is a Trib Total Media staff writer.

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