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Mount Vernon Schools to hire independent investigator to probe corruption accusations

The Mount Vernon City School District has announced that it is hiring an independent investigator following accusations of corruption from community groups.

News 12 Staff

Oct 30, 2022, 3:22 PM

Updated 569 days ago

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The Mount Vernon City School District has announced that it is hiring an independent investigator following accusations of corruption from community groups.
Last week, Save Mount Vernon questioned the district’s longtime relationship with consulting company Wellcore/Just Inspire.
The group’s research found that the district paid the company $8 million since 2015. Save Mount Vernon says they found that a relative of Superintendent Waveline Bennett Conroy owns Just Inspire. They say that they wonder if that had anything to do with the long-term deal.
The school board and Conroy say the questions raised deserve answers. They released a statement saying previous audits have found nothing wrong, but they are going to commission an investigation into themselves to ensure their grant procurement process is above board.
“The Board will immediately retain the professional services of outside experts who will review the past several years of transactional data and interview all relevant parties to create an objective set of conclusions... We look forward to sharing these findings when they are completed," the statement said in part.
Conroy also put out a statement the following day clarifying that it was her decision to bring in an independent firm for the investigation.
Mount Vernon residents like Carolina Luna are eager to hear the results of the investigation. Luna says she wants to see proof her tax dollars are really going to help local students.
"That's very good to know, that the truth will come to light. Transparency, right? See where your money is going,” she said.
Mount Vernon High School graduate Yessica Vasquez is concerned. She says she wants to know how the school district is handling money that's supposed to go toward student development programs because when she was about to graduate here, she didn't get any help to plan her future.
"There are so many bright minds in Mount Vernon and I feel like if we had the resources, so many people would flourish. I feel like I made it out barely because I knew how to reach out, but sadly, that's hard to do here," she said.
News 12 reached out to the superintendent and board president with follow-up questions but had not replied as of Sunday.
The individual who answered the phone at Just Inspire’s listed number had no comment.
Just Inspire's website was also inaccessible for much of the day on Sunday.


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