The school district’s suspended security director James Smith’s employment contract will not be renewed for the next school year, according to sources.
School board members discussed Smith’s employment with the district in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday night. Smith was given what’s called a “Rice Notice” informing him that the board would discuss his employment at the meeting. He did not respond to the notice, according to officials.
Smith had been suspended from his $156,440 job in Dec. 2018. Superintendent Eileen Shafer’s administration never publicly provided a reason for the suspension. He was suspended pending an investigation, officials said at the time.
On Wednesday night, school board members were provided findings of the investigations. Smith allegedly used district resources to investigate board members. For example, in one case, he had looked into longtime school board member Jonathan Hodges.
Smith also allegedly started a company to provide security services to schools, according to district sources. His contract barred him from providing security services to other entities while employed by the district.
Smith is also accused of misusing district vehicles. He also allegedly borrowed money from subordinates and received gifts.
Smith could not immediately be reached for comments on Thursday afternoon.
Smith began working for the district in Sept. 2002. He was in charge of security and investigations in the district.
His downfall began after an investigation into school board member Emanuel Capers’ trip to Arizona which was paid for by a firm seeking district business. He sent his investigation report into Capers’ trip to both county and state education officials. After both did not act, he filed an ethics complaint against Capers. Three of the four ethics counts against Capers were sustained by the state ethics commission and referred to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law for a final decision.
Capers declined to comment.
Smith was also unpopular with some teachers. His name has appeared in several lawsuits that criticized the district’s practice of keeping teachers in an isolated room in central office called the “rubber room.” The rubber room was abolished last year.
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