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Hold Nicole Kooiker Accountable

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We as a community need to stand up and question the hiring practices of our Superintendent Nicole Kooiker. 

She recently hired someone for CFO who was just six months ago let go for misuse of money to the tune of about $109,000. Also there was use of the electronic signature of Board President to sign the amended contracts so it appeared she signed off on the raises. The amended contracts were never brought before the Board of Directors for approval. 

Nicole has hired eight administrative positions since being hired as Superintendent. Seven of those live outside our district! 

The recent debacle with CFO hiring which she meddled in from day one shows she is incapable of getting the best candidate but would rather handpick someone with no ties to our community. References were missing for an applicant, Frontline the company that they use to send requests to the applicants references stated to me that they can not just be lost, if they weren’t on the end users platform then they were deleted. They could only check and return these to be viewed if someone from the district called and requested it be done. (Techs name was Colin)

A Board Member sent an email to Superintendent informing her he had seen the links that the references in fact submitted the reference form as requested. Magically after a couple hours they appeared again on the system. 

She had asked the interview committee board member during first of three rounds of interviews if he would support John Berg as CFO. He indicated he thought we had some good local applicants but if they all turned it down then he would. 

The offer was not given to either of the two local candidates and offered to a lady from out of town at a pay of $90,000. She declined as this was not enough money to get her to move from current position. Fact is that board members did not know this was offered to anyone until after third round of applicants were interviewed. 

She wanted John Berg from day one and manipulated the process to make sure he got it. Had she offered the lady months ago $105,000 for 3 years she may have taken it. She knew she would decline what was offered. 

She even changed the job description to not require a 4 yr degree because John Berg does not have one. She put him on the agenda before an interview even took place because the Board President and Superintendent called board members to make sure they had the majority. He was put on agenda and interviewed the day of the meeting. 

Open enrollment is climbing even higher, fights are at all time high at high school, teacher morale is at all time low and we are losing associates and staff at a rate that is unbelievable for any school district! 

She was proud to announce they hired 12 associates a couple weeks ago but what she failed to mention was that in the same personnel report 8 more had resigned in the week prior! She has cut pay, benefits and hours making associates leave for other school districts just like kids are! 

It is time the school board acts and takes away her power to be involved in any hiring or firing of employees. 

Stand up Ottumwa, it is your taxpayer money that is leaving the community at a tune of about $2.4 million! 

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