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Audit by Lancaster school district raised ethical questions about former superintendent

An audit commissioned by the Lancaster Independent School District raised ethical questions about a former superintendent.

An auditcommissioned by the Lancaster Independent School District has raised ethical questions about former Superintendent Elijah Granger and some school board members. The Lancaster school board voted this week to make the findings public.

The audit noted that during Granger's tenure as superintendent, "we identified a pattern of maneuverings to influence and control the decision-making of the Board by taking measures to ensure control over a four-vote majority of the Board’s seven voting members."

"These actions were orchestrated by Dr. Granger and facilitated by certain Board officers," the audit continued.

The Dallas Morning News has reported that Lancaster ISD trustees are sharing information about Granger with the FBI.

The audit linked former Superintendent Elijah Granger to job offers made to trustees if they stepped down, according to the Dallas Morning News.

School board vice president Ty Jones said he got such an offer but said no to Granger.

"I believe that the culture of the district is immensely improved in his absence," Jones said. "I think at this point, the district is definitely in a better position to move our kids and where they need to be, academically, as well as build the capacity of our staff."

Jones says he heard that Granger offered jobs to other trustees too, if they stepped down.

The News also reported that Walt Taylor, an attorney for Granger, described the audit's recommendation to refer the matter to law enforcement agencies as "a complete sham" and said in a statement that his client had never been contacted by the auditors, law enforcement officials or government officials about the subject of the audit.

The efforts to control a majority on the board, the audit alleged, resulted in approval of five modifications to his contract in less than three years, "making him one of the highest paid Superintendents in Texas."

The board later approved "the largest severance payout ever authorized to a school district Superintendent," according to the audit. The severance package for Granger that was approved in November 2020 topped $2 million.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at . You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.