Minneapolis Public Schools has reinstated a senior administrator after reviewing conflict-of-interest questions about an after-school program that paid her more than $26,000.
Associate Superintendent Lucilla Davila returned to work last fall after being placed on administrative paid leave during an independent investigation into her role with the Windom Enrichment Resource Center (WERC). The program offers enrichment classes for a fee, and has given scholarships to students who have needed extra after-school help.
Davila cofounded the program in 2011, when she was principal at Windom Spanish Dual Immersion School. It expanded to other schools she oversees as an associate superintendent.
The investigation came after Davila told the Star Tribune last year that she had never been compensated for WERC as principal or associate superintendent, and tax records showed that she had — $15,600 in 2013 and $11,000 in 2014, when she was listed as president of the organization.
The district found no reason for disciplinary action, Minneapolis schools said.
Davila was on leave from June 10 through Aug. 29 and was paid $29,933 over that time. Davila continued to check and respond to e-mails with district permission, and returned to work in the fall, district officials said.
State law prevents the district from giving additional information about the investigation, officials said.
“WERC provides an important service for many of our families, especially those who depend on it for after-school child care,” said an e-mailed statement from the district.
Davila did not respond to multiple requests for comment. She said in a Star Tribune story in June that she was no longer a board member of the organization, though sometimes worked as an adviser.
Questions arose after Davila took an associate superintendent position in charge of magnet schools, including Windom. The WERC program expanded, and last school year it was offered at Kenny, Windom, Sheridan and Emerson. All schools but Kenny are in her portfolio.
The Minneapolis school board approved a $150,000 contract with WERC without knowing of Davila’s relationship with the organization, according to Rebecca Gagnon, then the school board’s finance chairwoman.
Since then the program’s name has changed to the Bilingual Learning Center, to “be less confusing for our new families and more inclusive of our other program locations,” the website said. Its winter 2017 catalog and website noted that the program now runs at two sites: Windom School and Risen Christ Catholic School.
Program officials declined to comment for this report.