Provo School Board members said Tuesday that "love and respect" for Superintendent Jim Bergera will not interfere with a probe into his involvement with the scandal-plagued Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center.
About 100 residents attended the board's regular meeting to hear an update about the investigation into the involvement of Bergera and the school district with Timpanogos, or to express concerns about it.Several residents stood to point out the importance of addressing the proprietary and ethical concerns of the issue, and others warned that citizens should not condemn anyone without due process.
Board President Clarence Robison assured the crowd that "our love and respect for Dr. Bergera will not interfere with the investigation. We have an obligation to the school district and will do what we feel is best for the system."
An audit by the legislative auditor general last month accused Timp officials of misusing $3.5 million over four years for personal use. That prompted the school district to launch its own probe into whether any of the money it paid Timp for services was used improperly.
The school district's attorney, Mark Robinson, said auditors for the school district have concluded their preliminary field work and have found no irregularities. The district audit was conducted by the Grant Thornton Co., which has conducted district audits for the past several years.
The Thornton auditors will review the findings and submit a final written report to the board by the end of this week, Robinson said.
Robinson said Thornton auditors attempted to review each expenditure associated with Timp Mental Health but were unable to do so because the attorney general's staff is reviewing the center records.
With a group of about 15 other auditing teams, Thornton Co. hopes to get access to those records later this week, Robinson said.
The State Department of Education also completed a fact-finding audit to go beyond the findings in the legislative audit, but that information is still not available.
Robison said that like Gayle Chandler, who was sworn in Tuesday to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of board member Glen Brown, all board members have "taken an oath to carry out their duties as a board member in a proper manner and we tend to do so. We will continue with a thorough investigation to protect our integrity and the district's integrity and our responsibility to the voter. That won't change."
Chandler was the only candidate who had filed for a seat in District 4 by the April 15 deadline and will be up for election in November to seek a four-year seat. Chandler comes from a family of educators and has had children attending Provo schools for 20 years.
In other business, Karla Thompson was selected as principal of Canyon Crest Elementary School from 41 applicants throughout the United States and Provo District.
Also, the district approved Markham and Markham Architects and Engineers as the planning architect firm for remodeling at Dixon Middle School.
Phil Lott - director of building, grounds and transportation - gave an update on the district's adherence to the asbestos law, saying that all material has been treated and neutralized.
Student fees for the 1988-89 school year were also approved by the board. They remain identical to last year's figures with the exception of a slight decrease in technology education at Farrer Middle School matching it to Dixon's program fee of $10.
Participation fees for cheerleaders, drill team members and choir members needing costumes at Provo High remain at the top of the expense list. Cheerleader fees are $400, drill team fees are $275 and choir costumes for boys are $120. All other fees are $45 or under.