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Director Attracts Criticism

Thu., May 8, 1997

Some Bonner County residents are beginning to question why the school district has done nothing about Special Education Director Bob Howman.

Howman, who earns $55,000 a year, was accused by teachers of lying when he claimed at a staff meeting that he had been a professional football player, a clerk for a Supreme Court justice and an Olympic weightlifter.

Howman also was more than five months late filing federal reports and racked up a $180,000 budget deficit.

Howman has refused to return calls to The Spokesman-Review to comment.

The school board agreed to have a special audit of Howman’s department to show there was nothing illegal done with the bookkeeping.

Howman announced plans for a public meeting to explain what has gone on in his department and present the audit results.

He since has changed the meeting to an invitation-only gathering for media and six other individuals.

“It’s ridiculous. He says there’s going to be a public meeting then shuts it off to a select few,” said Debbie Jeffries, a member of a group fighting a proposed cap on extracurricular activities.

“Why isn’t he responding to the public? He is a public employee and these are our tax dollars we are talking about.”

In the written invitation, Howman said his office was too small to hold a public meeting. If members of the public want to see his presentation, they can request to review a videotape, the release said.

“That’s absurd and it upsets me this director isn’t being held responsible for his actions,” said Jerry Owens, a parent who is running for school board. “This meeting has obviously been orchestrated to keep the public from asking questions.”

, DataTimes


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