December 13, 2007 in City

Misconduct doesn’t stop paychecks

By The Spokesman-Review

No end is in sight to the paychecks for a teacher sent home 13 months ago for using district computers to write about his fantasies about having sex with — and even raping — teenage boys.

Peter Perkins, a Rogers High School teacher, faces 13 allegations of misconduct based on a yearlong investigation conducted by Spokane Public Schools. He remains under investigation by the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, which is responsible for teacher certification.

But the social studies teacher appealed the district’s decision to terminate his job and not renew his contract next September. The next move must come from Perkins’ lawyer, Larry Kuznetz, to set a hearing date — but there’s no deadline for that action.

And district officials say no date has been set. Kuznetz did not return a phone call Wednesday for comment.

District spokeswoman Terren Roloff said: “We try to move them along by our attorney working with the employee’s attorney.”

But the longer the delay, the longer he gets paid. So Perkins could remain on the payroll through August. Thus far, he’s already cost taxpayers more than $69,000 in salary and benefits.

“The district is bound by law to keep paying him, which is something we would like to see legislators review and address,” said Associate Superintendent Barb Wright. The laws “have not been reviewed for decades.”

If Perkins had not appealed the decisions, he would have been immediately removed from the payroll, Wright said.

As previously reported, the district’s investigation began Nov. 1, 2006, because of complaints from a parent and student, according to the documents obtained by The Spokesman-Review under the state’s public records laws. He was placed on leave 12 days later. According to the district’s investigation, Spokane Public Schools documents allege that Perkins photographed and twisted the nipples of bare-chested high school boys in a bathroom, wrote about his fantasies of raping a student, engaged in explicit online chats using district computers and downloaded graphic files titled “Teen Muscle Boy” to a publicly owned computer.

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