4/12/23: Another KPS lawsuit

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

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The former head of Kalamazoo schools’ finances is suing the district, claiming he was fired for being a whistleblower. Also: Kalamazoo County has opened applications for more than $2 million for affordable housing projects. And a K College senior hiked 500 miles for a school project.

News You Need To Know

Fired KPS official sues district

The fired former assistant superintendent for business and operations at Kalamazoo Public Schools has filed suit against the district claiming he was a whistleblower. Jim English used to be the district’s financial chief, but the board of education fired him in December after unapproved spending came to light. In his lawsuit, English claims that’s not why he was terminated – it was retaliation for complaining about “unusual accounting and spending practices by the Board and certain administrators.”

English lost his job shortly after former Superintendent Rita Raichoudhuri resigned in December. Interim Superintendent Cindy Green said English paid more than $91,000 to an outside organization without board approval. That spending was tied to the creation of a foundation intended to raise money for the district. But the creation of the foundation was also not approved by the board. It’s the second lawsuit filed against the district by an alleged whistleblower. The school board’s former secretary filed suit in March claiming she was reassigned for raising concerns over board spending. [WOOD]

County opens applications for affordable housing funds

More than $2 million is on offer from Kalamazoo County to support projects aimed at relieving the county’s affordable housing problems. County Housing Director Mary Balkema announced on Tuesday that the county will accept applications for the money through April 24, while another $200,000 is available from the Public Housing Commission with an application deadline of May 1. “We know that safe, stable, and affordable housing is critical for the well-being of individuals and families, and we are committed to working with our partners to create more affordable housing options in our community,” she said in a news release.

The money for the projects comes from the county’s affordable housing millage. The millage, approved by voters in 2020, provides finances for building housing and removing barriers to housing. Of the $2 million available from the county, $335,000 is set to be allocated to supportive services such as financial coaching or down payment assistance. The remaining $1.75 million is meant to help fund multi-family housing projects. [Fox 17]

3 finalists for leader of KRESA

Kalamazoo County’s intermediate school district has picked three finalists for its superintendent role. The Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency is searching for someone to take over for retired Superintendent Dave Campbell. The three candidates are Matthew Olson, assistant superintendent at Northwest Education Services in Traverse City; Mindy Miller, assistant superintendent for instruction at KRESA; and Dedrick Martin, superintendent at Caledonia Community Schools. The district’s board will interview the candidates on Monday and Tuesday of next week with an eye toward having someone in place by June. [MLive]

K College student’s project involves 500 mile hike in Spain

Every student at Kalamazoo College must complete a Senior Integrated Project. This is bit like a senior thesis, meant to show off the skills each student has gained over four years. Senior Fiona O’Rielly’s project was different than most – she hiked 500 miles across northern Spain to compile a report about solitude and community.

It was the summer of 2022 and the hottest part of the year in Spain. O’Rielly would often be alone for most of the day while walking along the ancient Camino de Santiago. But during the evenings, hikers would come together to eat, play games, and talk. It was during these times, she would find out why her fellow travelers embarked on such a grueling journey. Those reasons were many and varied, and provide the backbone of O’Rielly’s narrative. She said she learned a lot from the trip and hopes to return to Spain once she graduates this spring. [Kzoo.edu]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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Sally Sexton Kalmbach, Historian – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
10:00AM 4/12

Meet Author, Austin Channing Brown – Kalamazoo Public Library, Central
12:30PM 4/12

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 4/12

Austin Channing Brown Presents: I’m Still Here, YA edition – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
7:00PM 4/12

Calvin Hinds Live – Maestro’s Pizza
7:00PM 4/12

Dooley and friends live – O’Duffy’s Pub
7:00PM 4/12

Jasen Magic – Portage Zhang Senior Center
8:30PM 4/12

Bye-Bye Bernhard – WMU, Bernhard Center
10:00AM 4/13

Creative Wilderness w/Ladislav Hanka – Kalamazoo Nature Center
1:00PM 4/13

WMU We Talk with Bryan Newland, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs – WMU, College of Health and Human Services
3:00PM 4/13

Workshop: Broadsides – What have you got to say? – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
3:30PM 4/13

Kalamazoo Civic Theatre’s 95th Season Announcement – Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
6:30PM 4/13

Live Music with Keith Scott Blues – Green Door Distilling Co.
6:30PM 4/13

Bored Teachers- We Can’t Make This Stuff Up Comedy Tour – Kalamazoo State Theatre
7:00PM 4/13

RCL Film Club: The Public – Richland Community Library
7:00PM 4/13

The Play That Goes Wrong – WMU, Shaw Theatre
7:30pm 4/13-15; 2pm 4/16

What To Send Up When It Goes Down – Face Off Theatre Co.
7:30pm 4/13-15, 2pm 4/16

Mead me at Valhalla – Comedy Open Mic Night – Valhalla Kalamazoo
9:00PM 4/13

Grand Rapids Comic-Con – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
12pm 4/14, 10am 4/15-16

Hip Hop with Speak It Forward – Kalamazoo Public Library, Alma Powell
3:30PM 4/14

Celebration of Community Poets – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
6:00PM 4/14

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 4/14

Sage Castleberry – The Distant Whistle Brewhouse
6:00PM 4/14

Live Music with Don Field – Presidential Brewing Co.
7:00PM 4/14

Tales and Tails of Star Clusters – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
7:00PM 4/14

Trivia Night – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
7:00PM 4/14

Vinyl Tap – Comstock VFW
7:00PM 4/14

Weekend to Remember Marriage Retreat – Radisson Plaza Hotel
7:00PM 4/14

Open Mic – Kalamazoo Poetry Festival
8:00PM 4/14

See more upcoming events here.

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