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MLSD superintendent in talks to step down

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | August 20, 2021 1:05 AM

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake School Board is in talks with Moses Lake School District Superintendent Josh Meek to step down from his position following a roughly two-week investigation into “financial concerns.”

When contacted by the Herald, Meek had no comment.

According to a press release issued by the MLSD late Wednesday, if an agreement is reached, Meek’s last day will be Aug. 31. The board is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Friday to discuss the terms of Meek’s current contract and possibly begin discussion of “the selection of a new superintendent to serve the district,” the release said.

The press release cited “a series of audit reports provided to the school district” that raised questions about Meek receiving special project stipends without the approval of the school board, personal use of a district credit card without reimbursing the MLSD, and “perceived inaccuracies” in how the superintendent reported personal leave time.

However, in its press release, the MLSD provided no details or exact amounts of the charges, stipends or “inaccuracies” in Meek’s reporting of leave time.

According to the press release, Meek gave a detailed account, both verbally and in writing, of the circumstances surrounding the financial concerns, and admitted “some of the questions prompted by the audit resulted from his own inattention to detail and poor judgment.”

The school board has also concluded that while Meek did not intend to “inappropriately receive financial gain,” it would be best for him to step down and for the board to seek new district leadership.

The Columbia Basin Herald has submitted a public records request with the MLSD for both the audits and the superintendent’s employment contract. According to the MLSD, that request is being processed and all audits will be provided once the request is cleared.

Under his contract, Meek makes a base salary of just under $200,000 per year. However, he is also eligible for a significant “performance-based” bonus as part of his contract.

According to the MLSD press release, the ending of Meek’s employment with the district would also involve “the severance amount required by the terms of his employment contract,” though the press release did not say what that amount was.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at cfeatherstone@ columbiabasinherald.com.