Archive for Monday, August 7, 2017

Linn County attorney dismisses case against Tonganoxie superintendent

Linn County Judicial Building is the site of Tonganoxie USD 464 Supt. Chris Kleidosty's first appearance. Kleidosty gave a plea of not guilty to failure to report sex abuse at his former school district of Prairie View.

Linn County Judicial Building is the site of Tonganoxie USD 464 Supt. Chris Kleidosty's first appearance. Kleidosty gave a plea of not guilty to failure to report sex abuse at his former school district of Prairie View.

August 7, 2017

The case against the Tonganoxie school district’s superintendent has been dismissed.

Chris Kleidosty was scheduled to appear Monday in Linn County District Court, but James Brun, Linn County attorney, recently dismissed the case.

Kleidosty was arrested in February on charges of alleged failure to report two sex abuse cases in the Prairie View school district, where he previously was that district’s top administrator. The Tonganoxie school board placed him on administrative leave with pay shortly after the arrest. He remains on leave with pay.

Tonya Phillips, interim Tonganoxie superintendent, said the school board’s next regular meeting is Monday. Phillips said it was possible that the school board would address whether to remove Kleidosty from administrative leave at that time, but a meeting agenda hasn’t been set yet.

Alan Fogleman, Kleidosty’s attorney, said he was unsure whether Brun would refile charges, but Fogleman was pleased with the latest decision.

“We believe that was the appropriate response based on the evidence in the case,” Fogleman said. “We don’t believe Chris did anything wrong through this process.”

Fogleman referred questions about the reason for dismissal to Brun, but said the case was "dismissed without prejudice."

The Tonganoxie school board hired Kleidosty in May 2016.

Keaton Michael Alan Krell resigned earlier that month from his high school teaching position at Prairie View High School. Weeks later, on the last day of school, officers arrested him for alleged sexual relations with two students.

Kleidosty has contended that he always complied with authorities.

He was hired as Tonganoxie’s new superintendent the day Krell was arrested at Prairie View.

Kleidosty had been cooperating with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the matter and had informed the Tonganoxie school board of the development, according to Dan Hopkins, Tonganoxie school board member. At the time of his hiring in Tonganoxie, Kleidosty was not under investigation and was overseeing Prairie View’s cooperation with law enforcement in the sex abuse case, Hopkins noted earlier this year in an interview with The Mirror.

Another administrator, Tim Weis, also was arrested in February on the same charges. Prairie View school board members replaced Weis with the PVHS assistant principal earlier this year. Weis’ next court appearance is in October, while Krell’s next appearance is in September.

A call to Brun’s office wasn’t immediately returned Monday.

More than two months after Krell was arrested, Brun, from Overland Park, won a primary election against Republican incumbent John Sutherland for the Linn County Attorney’s race with about 65 percent of the vote (1,093-600). Brun then easily won the general election with 3,936 votes against several write-in candidates, including Sutherland, who had the second-most votes with 53. Brun took office in January.

He also was a former Tonganoxie USD 464 employee.

About 10 years ago, Brun worked in the Tonganoxie school district as director of operations. The district hired Brun in July 2007 at a salary of roughly $65,000.

The next month, Brun called 911 during an argument with then-Superintendent Richard Erickson.

At the time, Brun said the exchange did not become physical, but he did not feel comfortable with the situation and made the call.

About a month later, Brun and the school district reached a settlement agreement for roughly $57,000 and he no longer was employed with the district.

Kleidosty’s annual salary is $132,000. Phillips, who is the USD 464 director of educational services, was appointed interim superintendent following Kleidosty’s arrest. The board approved at its June meeting to paying Phillips nearly $15,100 for her interim superintendent duties. Her base salary is $74,700.

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