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Yukon superintendent announces retirement amid turmoil, lawsuits

A news release from Yukon Public Schools lauded its superintendent for his years of dedicated service and important role in getting a $92.4 million bond issue passed to build a “world-class” high school.

BY ANDREW KNITTLE Modified: February 11, 2013 at 10:26 am •  Published: February 10, 2013

/articleid/3753710/1/pictures/1948245">Photo - Superintendent  Bill Denton
Superintendent Bill Denton

Jones said an audit by his office must be requested by the local district attorney’s office, the state attorney general, the Yukon school board, the governor or by petition. At this point, none of that has happened.

‘Nature of the job’

Despite all of the things swirling around his district right now, Denton said his decision to retire has little to do with those types of distractions.

“I really can’t say that was a part of it,” he said. “This job … you’ve always got issues and things you’ve got to deal with in your school, in your community or statewide.

“It’s just part of the nature of the job. That’s really not the major component.”

Denton, 66, said he has been considering retiring for some time. He said the chief reason he’s leaving education after four-plus decades, the “negative reason,” is what he described as “the attacks on public schools.”

“The reduction of the funding for five straight years … that’s what brought me to this point,” Denton said. “We’re operating schools with 20 percent less money than we had five years ago … and they continue to take away revenue sources.”

‘Major changes’

As for the school vocational agriculture program, the administrator said “major changes” have been implemented since a Yukon couple brought him allegations of possible financial impropriety involving at least two former instructors.

School district emails obtained by the couple’s attorney show that former vocational agriculture instructor Jason Bow confessed to overcharging the couple to make up for financial losses the program suffered when two calves died unexpectedly.

“We spent several months working with the ag teachers, the state department, our attorneys … they totally redid all the policies and procedures for the vo-ag program,” Denton said. “I’ve had other schools contact us and ask about our new policies.”

The superintendent, whose retirement will become effective at the end of the next school year, said the vocational agriculture at Yukon is as “strong as it’s ever been,” and the students are performing well this school year.

“As unfortunate as the situation was, I think it’s been good that we’ve been able to kind of clean house and move in a real positive direction,” Denton said.

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