LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The State Inspector General is reacting to the Lee County School Board's decision not to handle the investigation themselves into allegations against Superintendent Dr. Joesph Burke.
Tuesday, the school board voted 3-2 to send the investigation back to the the state and have the inspector general's office take care of it.
But Inspector General Mike Blackburn says it will now be up to the Education Commissioner on whether the investigation happens at all. He says, "we're going to wait and get the official response from the district, and when we get that response I'll meet with the commissioner. Ultimately it's the commissioner's decision, he makes that determination if he sends my office down or not."
When asked if it's a possibility the investigation won't happen at all, Blackburn said, "that is a possibility, but it's the commissioner's call."
He said in his short time in the position, Blackburn has not seen a school district return an investigation to his office in this fashion. But he stopped short of saying the school board went against his advice. "I wouldn't say that. We presented them two options. They had the option to conduct the investigation themselves or to refer it back to the commissioner and they chose the second one so now we'll determine if further investigation is warranted," he said.
The school board responded to the allegations once already-that Dr. Burke mismanaged money and suspended an active employee investigation. But the state wasn't satisfied with the results, and asked for more.
The school board wants to a response from the state within 45 days. When asked if that was realistic, Blackburn said, "No, no. All of my investigators are currently working active cases."
He doesn't know if or when the commissioner will decide on the investigation.