“The initial thought is it’s something we are going to look at,” executive director, Ronald Bersin of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission says.
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission is opening a preliminary review of a complaint it received last week against Joseph Vondoloski, the co-founder and former executive director of Logos charter school in Medford.
“The commission did receive a complaint,” Bersin says, “the case is in preliminary review that gives the commission 30 days to do a cursory overview of the complaint materials.”
The Ethics Commission could not say what the complaint alleged, but in documents obtained by NBC5 News, concerns were raised by the Medford School District after Vondoloski first launched his own for-profit consulting company-Western Collegiate Consulting- then resigned as the school’s executive director, and then was subsequently hired by the school to provide management and services to Logos through his new company. The concerns detailed in the documents were both of conflict of interest and potential ethics law violations.
Vondoloski calls the accusations baseless. In a statement he says “It is discouraging, yet not surprising, that the 549c school district refuses to allow, let alone support, proven educational innovation in their district.” he continues, “The public sees this for what it really is, I am confident that any and all investigations will prove it as well.”
Current Logos executive director Sheryl Zimmerer is also responding, saying the entire process was reviewed by legal counsel. “We received several inquiries from across the nation, but only one actual bid,” Zimmerer writes, “The board went forward with the one bid from Western Collegiate Consulting. The contract we signed was reviewed and approved by legal counsel before it was offered, to be sure to avoid any conflicts of interest.”
Medford School District officials say they’re leaving it up to the commission to determine whether or not any violations occurred, or may have occurred.
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has 30 days to complete it’s review.
“Staff will bring a report to the commission at the next meeting after that 30 days,” Bersin says, “and there will be a recommendation either to move it forward into investigation or dismiss it.”
The ethics commission is scheduled to meet in mid-November. At this point all the information the commission has is confidential.
If you’re wondering why the school district cares how Logos spends it’s money, it all comes down to funding. The charter school gets its money, in part, from the school district. That cash, is made up of your tax dollars. It’s the school district’s responsibility to make sure that money is spent as it’s intended and that the charter school complies with state law.