Reading program at center of Washington Local Schools investigation

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - There’s new information on an investigation underway in the Washington Local school district.

Documents uncovered by the 13abc I-Team show the board is putting a reading program under the microscope and the costs associated with it.

School board members are being very tight lipped, with most of this discussion happening behind closed doors.

Over the past few years, Washington Local schools have spent quite a bit of money on training, travel and implementation of a program called Reading Recovery. That is according to documents obtained by the I-Team. They're the documents at the center of that school board investigation.

Those documents outline hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the program. They include things like $95,000 for consulting, training and travel. Those invoices also include nearly $15,000 in books and $8800 in conference registrations. All of it connected to the Ohio State University Literacy Collaborative and the Reading Recovery program based out of OSU.

The Reading Recovery website describes the program as "a research based, short term intervention of one to one teaching for the lowest achieving first graders."

That website also lists the districts using this program, the only other one in Northwest Ohio using it is Holgate Local Schools in Henry County.

Why that program is begin investigated by the Washington Local board is not clear. 13abc reached out to board president Mark Hughes and he would not comment on specifics only saying it's an ongoing investigation.

Superintendent Doctor Susan Hayward has not returned our phone calls or emails for comment.

The documentation does show she signed off on the Reading Recovery program in June of 2017.

13abc has learned that Doctor Hayward is an Ohio State employee.

OSU records list Dr. Hayward as a lecturer in the College of Education and Human Ecology and the office of Educator Preparedness. Her salary listed as just under $16,000.

This investigation was expected to be discussed behind closed doors at a Thursday board of education meeting. That meeting along with a special board meeting Wednesday have now been cancelled.

Stay with 13abc as we follow this story and see where this investigation goes from here.