COTTONWOOD - A letter to Mingus Union Board President John Tavasci from William Holder, Tom Wokasch's attorney, states that Wokasch intends to request a hearing to appeal his dismissal as a teacher.
The Mingus Union School Board voted Monday night during a special meeting to dismiss Wokasch from his teaching position with the district. Wokasch has 10 days after being notified of the charges to request the hearing.
Wokasch has been under investigation by the district and the Arizona Auditor General's Office for months regarding alleged misappropriation of funds. It is the administration's position that Wokasch deposited money from wrestling ticket sales and concession sales into a personal account. Superintendent Tim Foist read a statement of charges Monday night to the board. He then recommended that the board vote to dismiss Wokasch.
The board voted 4 to 1, with board member Mike Mulcaire being the only dissenting vote, to dismiss Wokasch from his teaching position.
Procedurally, Wokasch has 10 days to request a hearing so that the administration must present evidence to support the charges, and Wokasch may present his defense to the charges.
The board voted to appoint a hearing officer if Wokasch does appeal.
During a meeting last month, the board directed its attorney Patrice Horstman to attempt to reach a settlement with Holder within 30 days. Monday night Horstman told the board that no settlement was reached.
In his June 14 letter to Tavasci, Holder says that he expected the board to approve the statement of charges during its Monday meeting.
His letter stated, "Substantively, please understand that, Mr. Wokasch intends to request a hearing and intends to defend on the basis, among other things, that the investigation was initiated in bad faith and without an adequate factual basis, that the administration failed to negotiate in good faith when ordered to do so by the board, that Mr. Wokasch was not notified of the policies he is accused of violating, and that in any event he did not personally benefit from any alleged wrongdoing."
The statement read to the board Monday night by Foist charged that Wokasch deposited at least $33,000 into a personal account between August 2007 and August 2009. The charges also stated that during that same time period Wokasch transferred at least $19,000 from that personal account into another personal account.
The district says that due to Wokasch's alleged lack of adequate record keeping, the district does not know how much money was spent before deposits were made, and that deposits were not made promptly after each event.
In an e-mail to The Verde Independent Wednesday, Holder said that so far the statement of charges had not been served on Wokasch. He said he expected that to happen Wednesday.