Some USC parents concerned about handling of Lorentz

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 27, 2002

WELLS &045; With the resignation of United South Central superintendent Frank Lorentz on Monday night after an investigation into his conduct, there are some concerns in the community that the district did not handle the situation well.

&uot;I think the problem is is that the community does not know what the outcome was,&uot; said one parent picking up their child at Wells Elementary. &uot;With his resignation without any real reason the rumor mill just gets blown out of proportion.&uot;

The district school board had hired the law firm Knutson, Flynn and Deans PA to carry out an investigation of the personal conduct of Lorentz. According to teachers in the district, the investigation lasted four weeks and there were many interviews with students and teachers.

Email newsletter signup

While the district said the law firm had not recommended any disciplinary charges be pursued against the superintendent, they refused to comment on whether the charges weren’t pursued simply because Lorentz resigned and wasn’t subject to district discipline anymore.

Lorentz gave the board reasons for the resignation, saying that the investigation does more damage to the district and that his resignation would give leeway to new leadership. In the last year, the district has also weathered a divisive, failed bond referendum and a labor crisis that almost ended in a teacher’s strike. Ultimately, Lorentz said that the focus needs to be put back onto education.

But district parents are wondering if enough was done by the board. Some asked if the superintendent should have been put on a leave of absence.

Lorentz resigned effective Jan. 31, 2003, but won’t be working in the school for the remainder of his tenure. He was in Arizona Tuesday.

Other parents thought that the district had carried out the investigation in the best way possible.

&uot;I think their handling of it was fine,&uot; said another mother at Wells Elementary, who wished to remain anonymous. &uot;They actually did it the right way. I don’t think the board would have let him be on school grounds if there was any risk involved.&uot;

But some others were concerned with the way in which the case was handled, feeling that more information should have been given so that parents were assured that Lorentz wasn’t a threat to kids.

&uot;I worried about my children’s safety,&uot; Jodi Rathai said. &uot;I think as a parent I’m concerned that there wasn’t any information given out by the board as to what was going on in the investigation.&uot;

Many other parents in Wells were hesitant to talk about the matter, quickly closing their doors or declining to comment when asked about the situation.

The county is still carrying out its own criminal investigation of Lorentz, but cannot disclose any information about the case, according to Fairbault County Attorney Brian