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UPDATE: David School Survives Financial Problems

By: WSAZ News Staff; The Associated Press Email
By: WSAZ News Staff; The Associated Press Email

UPDATE 1/4/13
DAVID, Ky. (AP) -- An Appalachian high school that serves as an alternative for at-risk students was on the brink of closing last year, but has manage to survive.

The David School Principal Diantha Daniels says that 20 students were enrolled in the fall and four more are expected to begin this month at the Floyd County school.

The school was founded in the 1970s by a transplanted New Yorker who was shocked by the poverty of Appalachia.

The school has always struggled, but last year things got really bad - paychecks were late, and a nearby mission had to donate food.

After a judge removed the founder from control and a new board was appointed, things started to turn around.

Daniels says the school is "going to make it."



UPDATE 9/5/12 @ 7:55 p.m.
DAVID, Ky. (WSAZ) -- For one small mountain hollow school, Wednesday’s opening day of classes was almost taken away.

At the nationally acclaimed David School, they are back to saving at- risk students. And it's not just about substance abuse issues there.

Repairing a floor as part of the industrial arts maintenance class, David School junior Jason Rife came there to escape a persistent and brutal public school bullying problem.

"I wouldn't fight back," Jason said. "Here they encourage you -- tell you to not quit.”

Ninth-grader Tiffany Smith, who is in her first year at David School, says she could not learn or cope or survive at a big public school where she says no one cared.

“When it's smaller, teachers can actually listen to my opinions and questions and can actually be there to help me,” Tiffany said.

Principal Diantha Daniels added, “Students who are going to do well by having individual attention are going to thrive here at this school."

For nearly 40 years, the non-profit, small enrollment and free school tucked away in a Floyd County hollow has offered local at-risk high school students a learning alternative

Board of Directors member Ned Pillersdorf said, “This school has saved hundreds -- countless numbers of young students.”

But Pillersdorf says during the past year, David School founder Danny Greene, who's living out of state, turned on his own school. Greene was caught mismanaging school funds -- more than $100,000 worth.

Threatened with a shutdown, Pillersdorf filed a civil complaint with the Kentucky Attorney General's Office. They banished Greene, took legal control of the school and helped restore a student saving place.

“But for the Attorney Generals Office, this school would not be open today,” Pillersdorf said.

He said Floyd County, especially the area around the David School, leads Kentucky in juvenile poverty.

We’re told many of the students come from broken homes -- many riddled with substance abuse issues. For the students, though, it’s not about counseling or rehab, but learning.



UPDATE 8/13/12
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A lawsuit against the David School was dismissed during a hearing in Floyd County on Monday.

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office sued The David School in May over concerns it was being mismanaged.

According to ruling, the Floyd Circuit Court found that the manager of The David School, Daniel Greene, was in breach of his fiduciary duty to the school.

In the ruling, former directors Daniel Greene and Sister Emma Kriz are no longer allowed to do business for or be affiliated with The David School.

A temporary Board of Directors was formed when the trouble with the school came about. According to the document, that temporary board will now be made a permanent Board of Directors for The David School.

Each member of the board will be allowed to serve until resignation or expiration of their term.

The court is no longer needed for supervision and the new board has full authority to carry on the business of The David School, according to court documents.

The school for at-risk children was founded by Greene.



UPDATE 8/3/12
DAVID, Ky. (AP) -- The newly appointed board of directors at an eastern Kentucky high school for at-risk students says the once-struggling school is now being properly run.

The Kentucky Attorney General's Office sued The David School in May over concerns it was being mismanaged.

A statement released by the school on Friday says the AG's office will seek to dismiss the lawsuit and the office "acknowledges that the newly appointed board is properly running the school."

The school was founded by a New York native, Daniel Greene, who was motivated by the poverty in Appalachia. But the school depended on donations and the Attorney General's office suspected that Greene may have used his position to misappropriate school assets for his own use.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/18/12
FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) -- New information is now out about the financial troubles a private Floyd County high school faces.

The David School serves as an alternative for at-risk students.

The school and its director have been under investigation by the Attorney General for several months.

Thursday during a hearing in Floyd County Circuit Court, Principal Diantha Daniels testified that the school's finances are in big trouble.

"We are right on the brink of having a school that isn't even functioning," said Daniels.

Daniels said it was so bad that the school lunch program was cut, employee health insurance was canceled without any warning, and she said director Danny Greene told the staff to cut the school year short. She said she thinks that was a strategic move to avoid paying the staff for another pay period.

"I ordered the tassels for graduation and put them on my own credit card so that we could have graduation," said Daniels.

Whether the school has a functioning Board of Directors has also been in question, and Daniels said she has never had any contact with any board members except Greene, who has allegedly been misusing school funds.

"If we wanted to put gas in the van for example we would email or call Mr. Greene and ask him if we could put gas in the van and how much," said Daniels.

The judge appointed five new board members for the school, saying that the school provides a great need for students in the area.

"The David School was being managed by Mr. Daniel Greene. The court finds that he was acting outside the scope of his authority as director of the David School (...) It is the sincere hope of this court that the David School shall be able to operate in the future. It definitely provides a need for the community," said Floyd County Circuit Court Judge Johnny Ray Harris.

Greene declined to comment.

The judge asked the new board members to meet within 10 days.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/7/12
DAVID, Ky. (AP) -- A Floyd County high school that serves as an alternative for at-risk students could be facing closure.

The David School, founded by a transplanted New Yorker who was shocked by the poverty of Appalachia, has nearly always wanted for money.

But the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the Kentucky Attorney General's Office is now seeking information on the school's finances and on payments to its founder and longtime director, Daniel Greene.

According to court documents, the attorney general's office suspects that Greene may have used his position to misappropriate school assets for his own use.

Greene told the paper he has never wrongly taken money from the school.

Even supporters are concerned about the school's future. They say the school has no functioning board. Paychecks were late recently, and the school dropped its lunch program.


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