CHICAGO (CBS)–One of the state’s highest paid school superintendents, Dr. Troy Paraday, has been fired for financial misconduct.
The action Wednesday by Calumet City School District Board 155 follows a years-long CBS 2 investigation.
“We were shocked. The whole board was shocked because we trusted him,” said Board President Stanley Long after he read the misconduct findings recently released by the school district.
Long said that after hiring Paraday as District Superintendent thirteen years ago, the board was “very impressed” with his work.
“Within a couple of years we were out of the red and into the black,” Long said.
As CBS 2 reporter Pam Zekman disclosed in 2016, the Board gave Paraday a five year retirement contract deal worth $400,000 a year including a 6 percent annual salary increase and other benefits.
When Zekman questioned Paraday and Long at a board hearing two years ago about the lucrative deal they did not comment.
But on Wednesday Long admitted the CBS 2 investigation “started the ball rolling” on the Board’s review.
Now Long says Paraday “manipulated us very well–the whole board.”
The School District’s investigation summary includes charges that Paraday:
* Destroyed and altered records to misrepresent time he worked or did not work
* Falsely claimed he never took a vacation or sick day in 13 years of employment
* Claimed he accumulated 532 unused sick days and 350 unused vacation days for which the district owed him $1.7 million after his retirement
*Used 2,484 hours of comp time he was not entitled to, adding up to a year’s worth of time
If Paraday had not been discharged, he would have retired today and would have been eligible to receive an annual pension that was estimated at $297,000 when CBS 2 aired its report in 2016.
Paraday’s deal has infuriated parents like Charles King.
“The money could have been used for the district, for the students, better meals, better technology in the classroom,” King said when he was told about the circumstances of Paraday’s firing.
Now the Board has asked the Cook County Sheriff to investigate. A sheriff’s spokeswoman says it is underway.
If Paraday is convicted on felony charges relating to his work for the school district, he could lose the pension benefits paid by the school district.
Paraday could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Steven Glink, said his client has not done anything wrong. Glink added that the school board approved the provisions in Paraday’s contracts.