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Richland-Bean Blossom superintendent steps down after CALL 6 exposes $1M mistake

Call 6 Investigates exposed error on May 10
Posted at 5:51 PM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 21:17:05-04

ELLETTSVILLE, Ind.— The superintendent of the Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation stepped down Wednesday weeks after Call 6 Investigates exposed the district made a $1.1 million mistake that forced 10,500 taxpayers to pay a tax increase.

Dr. Mike Wilcox submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday after five years with the district, according to RBB school board president Dana Kerr.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the administration, staff and students of this corporation," read the resignation letter. "I wish them all the best in the future."

Kerr said the letter did not give a specific reason for the departure, however Wilcox has faced sharp criticism for making a mistake on a financial form to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

Wilcox and the school board have apologized for the error, and sent letters to residents explaining how they made the mistake.

Assistant superintendent Dr. Jerry Sanders will act as the interim superintendent while the district looks for a replacement for Wilcox, said Kerr.

“Mike was with us for five years and we’ve come a long way over the years,” said Kerr on Wednesday following the resignation. “Great things have happened.  All of our schools are A schools.”

Kerr said Wilcox was very involved in developing the district’s STEM initiatives.

“He was definitely part of the team to make all those things happen,” said Kerr. “We wish Mike well.”

Wilcox’s resignation comes after taxpayers stormed out of a May 21 school board meeting when board members shut down public comment and then approved hiring a consultant to help with financial planning.

On May 10, Call 6 Investigates exposed the Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corporation made the $1.1 million mistake that’s forced taxpayers to pay a tax increase this spring.

PREVIOUS | Monroe Co. superintendent's $1.1 million mistake results in tax increase for thousands of taxpayers

“You have lost our trust,” taxpayer Kathy Abell told the school board on May 21. “We don’t trust this board at all. We don’t trust you to spend money -- $50 million over the next seven years -- on a capital project.”

One taxpayer asked for the school board to step down from their elected positions.

“If I screw up on my taxes, I go to jail,” said one taxpayer. “Just resign. Period.”

Homeowners expressed concerns that the school board hired financial consultant George K. Baum to provide a second set of eyes on the books.

“Hiring a financial company who has already been doing the bond issuance is a conflict of interest,” said parent Katelynn Owens. “They’re already an entity that has overseen some of the financial errors that occurred.”

Board president Dana Kerr told Call 6 Investigates the contract would cost $7,000 to enter historical data and $1,600 a month for analysis and report.

“This is going to assist in budget preparations but also financial planning,” said Kerr at the meeting.

Wilcox and the school board have apologized for the error and sent letters to residents explaining how they made the mistake.

“I do believe we are a great school corporation and we’ve got greater things ahead of us,” said Kerr at the meeting.

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