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State education leader placed on leave over several concerns

One of Utah's top public school officials was placed on paid administrative leave this week due to concerns with budget preparation and decision-making, State Board of Education chairman Kim Burningham said Friday.

State Associate Superintendent Patrick Ogden was placed on paid leave Thursday, Burningham said.

That's the same day the state school board's budget request was submitted to the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Patti Harrington said.

The deadline for submission to the governor's budget office was Sept. 24, governor's spokeswoman Lisa Roskelley said.

The Legislative Fiscal Analyst receives budgets from the governor's office; its deadline for detailing state agencies' operating budgets is Nov. 1.

"The board has been right on target with their discussion of the budget," Harrington said. "Our office failed to give the detailed line item analysis (of the budget) in a timely way, and that's unacceptable."

Harrington would not elaborate on what she called decision-making concerns, citing personnel confidentiality rules.

Harrington said State Office of Education employees from finance and statistics and accounting offices are now studying what has happened, and she expects results from that study in the middle of next week.

Ogden has been in the state superintendency since 1999. Before that, he worked 14 years for the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, where he was manager of policy analysis.

Ogden did not return messages from the Deseret Morning News Friday afternoon on his cell phone or at his home.

On a related front, Harrington said the office is consulting business data management experts on improving data reliability and accuracy in accountability, testing and other public information.


E-mail: jtcook@desnews.com