I almost missed this one: former Southeast Technical Institute registrar officer Matt Onnen filed suit last year against the Sioux Falls School District alleging that STI granted associates degrees to instructors who had not completed sufficient coursework. Onnen's suit demands that the district return $2.2 million in federal funds, plus possible damages. As the whistleblower, Onnen would receive a nice cut (25% or more) of any funds the district would be ordered to pay.
Now Onnen is also suing over his firing last year, which he says came because he wouldn't hand out the bogus degrees. (Lake Madison denizen Rollyn Samp is his lawyer—watch out, Sioux Falls School District!)
I don't have evidence to support confirm or deny Onnen's accusations. However, if either suit holds water, advocates for bringing the tech schools under the Board of Regents' supervision may add another argument to their case. Maybe awarding college degrees is just a little above the local school district's pay grade. Your thoughts...?
Update 2010.02.01: Judge Bill Srtska finds STI was justified in firing Onnen. The whistleblower suit reamins to be heard.
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