MCPHERSON, Kansas – The McPherson County attorney says there is an ongoing investigation into what happened to nearly $5,000 in school money.
One school board member confirms the money was allegedly used by former associate superintendent Chris Ruder. Ruder has since resigned.
“We put these people in a position of authority because they are supposed to be making intelligent, wise decisions,” says Melanie, a McPherson County Resident. “To further our kids education. and instead they are using funds to better their own situation?”
Some McPherson school board members tell KSN they were told Ruder used school money for his personal use.
“I believe [the school district] asked for restitution in an amount of less than $5,000,” said school board member Anne Hassler Heidel.
Hassler Heidel calls Ruder an outstanding school leader, but says concerns arose when an internal audit led to questions of up to $5,000 in spending by Ruder. That money is now being disputed.
“I believe some of it was for his education, college classes,” said Heidel. “He was working on his Doctorate so…”
“I think everyone is shocked. Chris (Ruder) had a reputation as being very hands-on and involved with the community. He served on a lot of boards. His kids were very active in school and sports,” continued Hassler Heidel. “Some people are upset because you do hear the buzz about schools needing more money, and everyone wants to know that their money is being managed properly. We’ve worked with Mr. Crawford, the Superintendent, on having more checks and balances in place.”
Hassler Heidel says the disputed money has been paid back to the district, and Ruder has since moved out of the community.
McPherson County Torrance Parkins is not saying if there will be any formal charges. Police also say it is an ongoing investigation.