Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
Your voice in the Aleutians.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The KUCB Newsroom provides newscasts Monday through Thursday at noon and 5 PM on KUCB Radio. You can find many of our local news stories here.

Unalaska school district investigation ‘clears superintendent’ over moving expenses dispute

Maggie Nelson
The district released details to the public Tuesday about its investigation into an internal complaint made by former principal LaVettra Clayton, who left the district last month after being put on paid administrative leave.

The Unalaska City School District says Superintendent Robbie Swint Jr. committed no wrongdoing following a complaint filed by a former elementary school principal who departed abruptly after a few months on the job.

That comes after the district released details to the public Tuesday about its investigation into an internal complaint made by former principal LaVettra Clayton, who left the district last month after being put on paid administrative leave.

Clayton filed a grievance against Swint at the end of August over reimbursement for moving expenses. She claimed that Swint — who joined the district this summer — engaged in fraud related to his moving expenses reimbursement. That’s according to the district’s investigation report.

The district has not released the principal’s complaint. But according to a summary released by UCSD, the dispute centered on a disagreement over sharing costs in moving expenses. Swint and Clayton had agreed to share a shipping container to move household items and a vehicle to the island, but they didn’t put their agreement for payment or reimbursement of the shipping costs into writing, according to the findings.

The district’s law firm says it found that Swint never violated district policies or engaged in theft or fraudulent conduct. The Anchorage-based law firm declined comment to KUCB.

As part of its investigation, UCSD’s law firm conducted interviews with Swint and the district’s business manager Danielle Whittern. Attorneys also reviewed the written complaint, supporting documents and a record of a meeting between Swint, Clayton and Whittern. The firm did not talk to Clayton.

A review of court records reveals that after being put on administrative leave, Clayton filed an Aug. 30 petition for a stalking protective order against Swint, outlining threatening behavior from her boss, the superintendent. The petition was denied after she didn’t show up in court.

Clayton agreed to drop all claims against the district in mid-September and resign in exchange for the remainder of her salary and benefits, which totals $110,000. The school board also agreed to reimburse her for up to $20,000 in moving expenses.

Reached for comment off the island, Clayton says she’s disappointed in the way things worked out. But she says she wouldn’t say anything disparaging the school district.

The search for an administrator for Unalaska’s elementary school continues. Earlier this month a retired special education teacher was hired to run the school in the interim.

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
Hope McKenney is a public radio news director, reporter, producer and host based in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
Related Content
  • A former Unalaska special education teacher has returned to the district to act as the elementary school’s top administrator.That comes as the Unalaska City School District grapples with an internal complaint from the school’s previous principal, who will be paid the rest of her salary and expenses even after resigning last month.The district hired former UCSD special education teacher Marti Rookala earlier this month to take the helm of the elementary school.
  • Unalaska’s high school wrestling team competed at the Bethel Scramble earlier this month. It was a two-day tournament with a total of 16 schools and over 190 wrestlers in attendance.Because the COVID-19 pandemic halted close-contact sports, it was also the first time in roughly two years that the island’s wrestling team had traveled to compete.
  • Unalaska students still must wear masks at school, even while the city is operating at its low COVID-19 risk level and only encouraging masking indoors.The Unalaska school board decided Tuesday that the district will drop to its low transmission level and students can stop wearing masks in school buildings when the city’s COVID-19 case count drops to zero and the Emergency Operations Center advises the change. Previously, the district would only move to its low transmission level after the city had gone two weeks with no community-acquired cases of the virus.