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Friday, October 31, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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Ex-DeSoto school chief's pay, spending questioned

Last Modified: Monday, April 29, 2013 4:29 PM

SHREVEPORT (AP) — Questions are being raised about the compensation and expenses for a former DeSoto Parish Schools superintendent.

The Times of Shreveport reports that Walter Lee, who retired last year as DeSoto's superintendent, earned more than $1 million in salary, retirement and benefits from mid-2009 through November.

He also received thousands in fuel, hotel and meal expenses, some of which, the newspaper says, are not fully explained.

The newspaper says Lee charged the DeSoto district for expenses related to his service on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Lee defends his salary and expenses, telling The Times he saved the district money by working extra hours and not taking available sick and leave time.

"I never concealed or tried to conceal any information" about his salary and expenses, Lee said.

The DeSoto Parish sheriff has asked the FBI to look at the financial records. "I can confirm that it is an ongoing investigation but cannot comment on details of the investigation," spokeswoman Mary Beth Romig of the FBI's New Orleans bureau said in an email Tuesday to The Times.

Lee defended his compensation and expenses in an interview and in a prepared statement: "My BESE service was a part of my contract and it permitted DeSoto to be informed about grants and easy access to state Department of Education personnel," his statement said.

"I am most pleased with the progress DeSoto has made and its recognition as one of the top school systems in the state. The success is a result of an outstanding school and Central Office staff."

DeSoto board member Dudley Glenn, of Gloster, said that although Lee's service on BESE was considered a benefit to DeSoto and noted in his contract, at no time did the board authorize him to charge BESE expenses to the school district.

"It is my understanding he received his mileage and hotel accommodations from BESE," Glenn said.

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