Superintendent to pay $357 in restitution

Published 11:28 am Friday, September 21, 2012

Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Swinford will have to pay $357.56 for improper use of a district vehicle, District 1 Trustee and board President Bryan Pratt said.

In an executive session Thursday night, the Board of Trustees discussed the restitution and an unrelated personnel matter.

Swinford, whose annual pay is $125,000, said she was glad to put the matter behind her and move on.

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“That was the piece we were missing,” Swinford said this morning. “When the board voted on that, it was a three-day suspension without pay and to pay restitution. They finally gave me the amount and we’ll address it and move on with conducting the district’s business.”

Pratt also said he was pleased to see the issue resolved.

“It’s done,” Pratt said this morning. “We consider this matter closed and we are moving on with the business at hand that is educating the students in our district.”

Swinford, who was most recently employed by a Baton Rouge school district, was cited at a special meeting Sept. 6 after the board received reports that she used a district vehicle to assist her move to a new residence. She subsequently was suspended for three days without pay and ordered to reimburse the district for the costs related to the use of the vehicle.

Swinford previously said she was following an existing procedure that other employees used to check out school district property.

Officials at the State Auditor’s Office told The Vicksburg Post that use of district property for personal purposes would be considered “a donation” by the district, which is against state law.

At the Sept. 6 meeting, the vote to suspend Swinford was 4-1, with District 3 Trustee Jim Stirgus Jr., voting against it.

Only Pratt and District 2’s Zelmarine Murphy attended that meeting, along with board attorney Briggs Hopson III. The three other board members — Stirgus, District 4’s Joe Loviza and District 5’s Sally Bullard — participated via a conference call.

Swinford, in her second year as superintendent of the nearly 9,000-student district, served her suspension Sept. 10-12.

The second personnel matter discussed Thursday was not made public.