The chief operating officer for a school district in Iowa has resigned after being charged with criminal misconduct in connection with district spending.
The Des Moines Register reports that Eric Rose has been on paid administrative leave from his job in the Waukee school district since Dec. 7, the day after a state audit revealed Waukee administrators improperly used district charge cards, spent large sums of money on out-of-state retreats and violated district policies without consequences.
The school board said in a statement that it accepted Rose's resignation Monday morning "in an effort to put immediate closure to this matter and help ensure that district staff can now remain focused on the positive work they are doing for the students of this district and not be further distracted by potential claims, suits or other issues related to Mr. Rose and his employment with the district."
Rose was charged Saturday with two counts of soliciting a felony and one count of felonious misconduct in office. He has pleaded guilty and is free on bond.
As the chief operating officer, Rose was responsible for oversight of the Operations Department, which maintains district grounds and facilities and oversees capital improvement and construction projects. Before becoming chief operating officer, Rose was the director of operations for the district from 2004 to 2011.
His district salary was $142,800 a year.
Rose was at the center of a 2016 internal investigation that determined he fabricated employee time cards, used school property at his home and solicited donations for his son’s hockey team from district vendors.
Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman reiterated those findings in the most recent special investigation.
She also found at least $130,244 in payments made by school administrators that were "not in the best interest of taxpayers." Money was spent on out-of-state retreats and at local restaurants.
Parents and district taxpayers confronted the school board last week, demanding that Rose and Superintendent Cindi McDonald be fired in the wake of the audit results.
"We regret that our decision over two years ago has eroded confidence and trust in the district administration and this board," Board President Wendy Liskey says. "We didn't ask enough questions and we placed too much confidence in a few people who are no longer employed by the district."