Stillwater Schools superintendent defends remodeling closed elementary school

Updated: October 10, 2019 10:05 PM

Stillwater Schools Superintendent, Denise Pontrelli, said a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS story about the cost and process of remodeling a closed elementary school had "misinformation" and "false claims" in it, but she did not offer specific examples of which portions of the story were inaccurate.

On Wednesday night, KSTP reported some Stillwater School Board members were questioning why the school district spent $244,000 to remodel portions of Oak Park Elementary School, which has been closed as an elementary school for two years.

School Board member, Sarah Stivland, told KSTP the schools administration reported the remodeling expense at a cost of $83,000, but an audit found there were multiple purchase orders for the project which actually totaled $244,000.

Stillwater Schools spent $244K remodeling closed school, board members want answers

"We want to know why and how this happened," said Stivland. "Because, any project exceeding $100,000, at that time, required School Board approval and there is no record of the Board approving nearly a quarter-of-a-million dollars for upgrading Oak Park."

At the Stillwater School Board meeting Thursday night, Pontrelli characterized the KSTP story as misleading and urged School Board members to save debates for the School Board meetings and to not debate issues on "local TV news stations."

"When this happens, it is a disservice to the community," said Pontrelli.

KSTP tried to ask Superintendent Pontrelli for examples where the story had "misinformation," or "false claims," but she declined requests for an interview to explain, specifically, which parts of the story she was referring to at the time.

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Jay Kolls

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