Urbana school district hires law firm for investigation

By Leigh Krahenbuhl

The Urbana School District appointed the Taylor Law Offices today to carry out an external investigation relating to Thomas Paine Elementary school teacher Jon White.

Urbana school board attorney Dennis Weedman says the investigation will determine what future action will be taken.

“We’re conducting an external review in matters related to Jon White’s employment, the November 2006 investigation and recent allegations. Findings will be reported to board council and then communicated to the board of education.”

The school board met in closed session today for more than 45 minutes before returning for a vote. All present board members voted in favor of hiring the law firm, based in Effingham. According to the school board’s vice-president John Dimit, board president Joyce Hudson was not present because she has been stuck at work since the start of the recent blizzard.

Attorney Weedman says he doesn’t know how long the law firm’s investigation will take.

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“We don’t have a time frame, we know that the law firm is prepared to begin its investigation immediately.”

The investigation is expected to be free from administrative control of the Urbana board of education. Weedman says the matter won’t be discussed at next week’s school board meeting unless the investigation is complete at that time.