Interim School Superintendent Ramona Tyson took the actions Aug. 11 after an internal investigation found that school funds were used to purchase almost $100,000 in books from the employees of the district.
Jeff Dickerson, a schools system spokesman, said Thursday that while there are no policies prohibiting employees from selling goods and services to the school district, the employees manipulated the district’s purchasing guidelines to make the purchases.
He said principals can spend up to $5,000 without needing a request for a proposal.
In all the cases, several invoices were generated to skirt the purchasing cap.
The investigation found that Butler, who was principal at Browns Mill Elementary for 12 years, used the school’s funds to buy more than $11,000 worth of copies of her books – about transforming Browns Mill into a sugar-free school – from her company Ennovy in 2007.
Butler, who was relocated to the district’s central office in April 2009, long before the investigation, is being fired from her $105,615 position.
Her sister, Annette Roberts, who is principal at Rainbow Elementary School, bought $14,184 worth of copies of her sister’s books for Rainbow Elementary. She is being fired because she refused a demotion to assistant principal.
Both Butler and Roberts are suspended with pay, pending a tribunal hearing into their terminations.
Reached Thursday, Butler said she is fighting her suspension and termination. She referred all other questions to her attorney, B.A. Thomas.
Roberts has said she was being unfairly targeted because she is related to Butler.
Dickerson said that a date has not yet been set for the tribunal hearing for the sisters.
Simpson, who sold more than $15,260 worth of his autobiography – “From Remedial to Remarkable” – to the district, was demoted to assistant principal at Tucker High School and his $115,405 annual salary reduced to $89,599.
Miller Grove High School principal Dr. Selina Carol Thedford, who bought $9,680 worth of Simpson’s book, was demoted to assistant principal at McNair Middle School. Her $105,615 salary was reduced to $93,168.
Tyson said that Simpson has agreed to pay back $11,800 of his book sales revenue to the school district.
She has proposed that the School Board establish a conflict-of-interest policy that prohibits all school district employees from selling goods or services to the district.