The Seattle Times is reporting the following:
- Silas Potter was sentenced to 3 years, 7 months in jail. He could get credit for the eight and a half months time that he has already spent in jail.
- One accomplice, David Johnson, was convicted in early November of 30 counts and will sentenced in early Jan.
- Potter and Johnson "are jointly responsible for restitution of $168, 275."
- The other accomplice, Lorrie Kay Sorensen, was sentenced to 60 days of home detention with electronic monitoring. She must pay $83k in restitution.
The most basic lesson is accountability. There was failure from the top down. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, the superintendent at the time, is the least responsible but she should have realized that Mr. Potter's direct supervisor, Fred Stephens, was distracted by the murder of his son and the subsequent trial. Additionally, employees within JSCEE either feared or avoided Potter; that was a well-known situation and yet no one at the top seemed concerned. Potter never seemed to get challenged on the spending or outcomes and yet there were several directions at JSCEE where he could have been done and was not.
Then there were Board Directors Steve Sundquist and Peter Maier. Sundquist had a heads up on something being off but, probably not wanting that dreaded "micromanaging" tag, let it go. Maier was far more culpable and violated what is probably one of the key issues to being on any Board. If you receive information from a trusted source (in this case an independent report generated by the district) about the program, you share that information with the rest of your board. You don't get to use your own judgment about what the board should or should not know. That's what he did.
I think this has a lesson going forward about creating specialized programs -whether for staff or students - that don't have real oversight, clear goals and follow-up for outcomes. Oversight provides accountability.