Organization says Bossier superintendent targeting State Teacher of the Year

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A professional teacher organization is claiming that Louisiana Teacher of the Year Spencer Kiper is being targeted unfairly by Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey.

According to a letter from Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL) General Counsel Laruen P. Nero, Downey is seeking repayment of compensation for leave that Kiper took during the 2018-2019 school year.

The letter begins with claims that Kiper contacted A+PEL after Downey “verbally threatened to take action” against Kiper regarding repayment of compensation that he “was not entitled to.”

Kiper

“It is my understanding that you have asserted that Mr. Kiper may have taken leave during the 2018-2019 school year and received corresponding compensation for said leave that he was not entitled to. It is also my understanding that you have not provided Mr. Kiper with any documentation supporting your assertions but have demanded that he repay a particular sum to the Bossier Parish School Board or face punishment,” said the emailed letter.

“Obviously, Mr. Kiper isn’t able to evaluate your assertions and assess the legal repercussions over a less than 72 (hour) period. We hereby demand that you provide me, Mr. Kiper’s legal representative, with a list of dates you allege he missed school, the type of leave he used, the compensation he received for that leave, and any evidence you have that Mr. Kiper’s leave wasn’t approved by you, the former superintendent, or one of either of your designees,” said the emailed letter.

Downey

The letter notes that Downey made these claims on Sept. 6 and gave Kiper until today, Sept. 9, to answer. The letter concludes with Nero demanding Downey provide a list of dates and any evidence that supports Downey’s claims about Kiper.

When reached for comment Monday morning, Downey declined to make any comments, citing that the issue is a personnel matter.

Nero and Kiper were both contacted Monday morning for comments regarding the issue. Neither had responded to the Press-Tribune prior to deadline for publication.

The Press-Tribune will update this story with any further comments or developments as they become available.