May 8, 1997 in Nation/World

Director Attracts Criticism

By The Spokesman-Review
 

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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