Educators placed on leave in Polk County leave gap for county to fill
Concerned parents commented on WRCB's Facebook post on Friday, when the station was notified about Copper Basin Elementary Principal Jill Franklin, a teacher, and bookkeeper being placed on leave. They make up three out of 20 teachers in the school system, according to Dr. James Jones the Director of Schools in Polk County.
Cindy Allen wrote, "We all need to know what's going on...I have 2 children in this school."
Kristin Panther-Jory added, "I have kids in the school too and I'm just going to throw this out there ... use Google and search "Comptrollers Tennessee" and you'll get a good idea."
According to Dr. Jones, the disciplinary steps are the result of an investigation by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office. He said someone familiar with the position stepped into the role of acting principal on Friday.
"She's going to be taking over that job until the investigation is complete," said Dr. Jones.
The Tennessee Comptroller's Office could not confirm the investigation due to policy. The office ensures public dollars or property is spent or used appropriately, according to Director of Communications John Dunn.
"The comptroller's office is full of forensic accountants who are experts in determining whether money has been misused. That expertise isn't found at the local level so often times cases are referred to our office for additional work," said Dunn.
Dunn said investigations in their office typically take months or as long as one to two years.
"If the allegations are even to be founded in anyway, we would issue a public report at that time. We would be able to discuss our investigation in detail," he said.
As the investigation continues, Dr. Jones wants parents to know student safety isn't in question.
"Physical or emotional harm is not the issue we were investigating here. These are three wonderful educators," said Dr. Jones.
As for the kindergarten teacher, he said they will have a substitute teacher in that position for 20 days until they have to put a certified teacher in that position.
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