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St. Joseph school superintendent resigns amid efforts to oust him over critical audit


ST. JOSEPH, Missouri — St. Joseph's school superintendent resigned, months after the release of an audit report that was highly critical of the district.

Superintendent Fred Czerwonka said Friday that he was resigning, and the school board was expected to meet later Monday to formally accept his resignation, The St. Joseph News-Press reported ( ). The board will immediately begin the search for his replacement.

Czrewonka has been on leave since January and the board voted in February to begin the process of firing him. He was one of several administrators who came under fire after an audit found the district had paid at least $25 million in unapproved stipends to administrators over the last eight years. The amount of stipends might have reached $40 million had the audit gone back further than eight years, the audit said. The district received the first "poor" ranking given to a Missouri school district since 2011.

In his resignation letter, Czerwonka said, "I hope my resignation can allow the district to move forward with the hiring of my successor. I look forward to continuing the good work I have been put here by God to do. My family and I pray for the healing of the community and success in the future."

His attorney, Mark Nasteff, said Czerwonka would receive no further benefits or compensation from the district.

The resignation was "another step in the healing process and it allows us to move forward," board President Brad Haggard said.

Several other board members also expressed relief over the resignation and the chance to hire a new superintendent.

"It's time to start a new era in the St. Joseph School District, one that's positive, constructive and community involved," board member Eric Bruder said.

Information from: St. Joseph News-Press/St. Joe, Missouri,

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