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Federal Investigation of St. Joseph School District Narrows

Sam Zeff

The federal investigation into the St. Joseph School District is becoming more focused.

A third grand jury subpoena was served on the Missouri district late Thursday.

This latest subpoena for documents asks for some very specific information.

In a news release, the district says the grand jury sitting in Kansas City, Mo., wants to know about the district's tuition reimbursement and teacher certificate reimbursement programs.

The problem, sources say, is the district has in the past selectively paid for some administrators graduate degrees and paid for them without board approval or knowledge.

The grand jury also asked for personnel records.

Sources say the FBI has interviewed dozens of people inside and outside the district, regularly attends school board meetings and has checked the bank records of some district employees.

The last round of subpoenas, issued over the summer, narrowed the focus of the federal investigation to 14 top St. Joseph School administrators, according to a source who has seen the subpoena.

At least one board member has retained a prominent Kansas City white collar criminal lawyer.

The board has retained its own criminal counsel.

The district said in a statement that it continues to fully cooperate with the investigation.

You deserve to know what your taxpayer dollars are paying for and what public officials are doing on your behalf – I’ll work to report on irresponsible government spending in the Kansas City area and shed light on controversies that slow government down. And when you hear my voice in the morning, you know you’re getting everything you need to start your day. Email me at sam@kcur.org, find me on Twitter @samzeff or call me at 816-235-5004.
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