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

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Maggie Nelson
/
KUCB
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 reported for KUCB from 2019 until 2022. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2021.
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