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Sioux City school district's budget chief put on paid leave

Posted April 10

— The Sioux City school district's budget director has been placed on leave after raising concerns about the superintendent's management style.

Documents obtained by the Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/2oYxlNE ) say the district placed John Chalstrom on paid administrative leave Feb. 13. The move wasn't announced publicly.

Chalstrom had accused superintendent Paul Gausman of creating a hostile workplace and threatening his job if he shared alternative budget options with school board members outside regular board meetings.

Chalstrom brought his concerns to Dan Greenwell, a businessman and frequent critic of Gausman and his administration. Board members learned of Chalstrom's concerns after Greenwell spoke with two leaders and Chalstrom emailed remaining board members.

"I indicated that many of the items on John's list could be validated by (school board) members with a proper investigation," Greenwell said in an interview with the newspaper.

Chalstrom said that Gausman exhibited "very strong bully behavior" and used a management style heavy on "manipulation and intimidation."

Gausman has denied these claims. He said he only knows of the allegations through board members and hasn't discussed them with Greenwell or Chalstrom.

"The allegations prepared by Mr. Greenwell do not in any way reflect who I am as a leader, and the allegations are not true," the superintendent said in a statement. "I will continue to stay focused on the work of moving our district forward; the students, families, and community deserve no less."

School board member Perla Alarcon-Flory said the board is having "very important discussions" about the information Greenwell shared, but didn't characterize it as an investigation.

"These are serious concerns and we have to address them," Alarcon-Flory said. "This is not something we are going to brush off or sweep under the rug or anything like that."

A district spokeswoman declined the newspaper's request to comment on the decision. Chalstrom also declined comment.

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This story has been corrected to show that Dan Greenwell, not John Chalstrom, emailed the remaining board members about concerns.

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