Monticello board lets go of executive director amid state investigation

An Ammon public charter school board has decided to seek new leadership in the face of a state investigation into the school’s finances.

Monticello Montessori Charter School’s board of directors agreed Wednesday to not renew the contract of executive director Erica Kemery, which expires June 30.

Erica Kemery
Erica Kemery

Trustees voted 3-1 to “reopen the position” and let go of Kemery after a lengthy executive session Wednesday night. Board chair Ken Glodo cast the opposing vote.

The decision accompanies a months-long investigation into the school’s finances by the the Idaho Public Charter School Commission. Since March, the commission has investigated a range of issues at the school, including over $11,500 in unexplained payments and purchases.

Idaho law requires school districts and charter schools to post their monthly expense reports online, along with descriptions of purchases that aren’t “self-describing.” Most of Monticello’s 2020 expense reports either lack purchase descriptions or are missing from the school’s website.

The commission temporarily absolved the school of some initial concerns, but requested more information surrounding finances in a letter to local leaders on April 30.

Commission director Jenn Thompson told EdNews last week that her staff has received only some of the documents requested from the school. As a result, Thompson announced an upcoming visit to the school. Visits to Monticello on June 21 and 22 will give the commission “full and complete access to financial records and reports” the school has not provided as part of the probe, Thompson told the school in a letter dated May 25. “Please consider this a formal public records request for all documents noted in the April 30th letter.”

Commission staff will meet with administrators and a representative from the school board during the visit, Thompson announced.

Kemery told board members Tuesday that the school has provided all requested documents to the commission.

Neither Kemery nor Glodo have answered questions from EdNews about the investigation — or a range of unexplained credit card purchases detailed in an EdNews inquiry of the school’s finances earlier this week.

Kemery and Glodo haven’t responded to EdNews’ questions about other credit card purchases since that inquiry, including $1,564.45 for a one-night Airbnb stay in November 2019.

Monticello is located in Ammon, serves some 200 students and employs 11 certified staffers.

Further reading: Monticello’s board of directors agreed Wednesday to not renew Kemery’s employee contract, which expires June 30. Kemery and Glodo haven’t responded to EdNews’ questions about other credit card purchases uncovered in recent days, including $1,564.45 for a one-night Airbnb stay in November 2019.

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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