School district paying consultants $12K amid investigation
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage School District is paying a public relations firm $12,000 a month to help it properly release information regarding a sexual assault investigation involving Dimond High School students.
Allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct involving Dimond High School’s football team were reported to police last month, the Anchorage Daily News reported .
Strategies 360 will help the district get clear and transparent information out to students’ families and the public, Superintendent Deena Bishop said in a statement.
A memo that a district spokeswoman emailed to the Anchorage Daily News Thursday states that Strategies 360 is charging $12,000 a month, with the first month of work going from Aug. 27 to Sept. 27.
The memo states discussion of a longer-term agreement, if necessary, would follow.
Some members of the Anchorage School Board said they support the district’s decision to hire the firm or didn’t object to it.
“I’d rather spend $12,000 or $20,000 on a PR firm that will help us appropriately filter — say what we can, redact what we can’t — then have somebody go and open their mouth and we have a $1 million lawsuit,” said Elisa Snelling, a board member.
Anchorage School District spokeswoman Catherine Esary would not say what work the public relations firm had done for the district so far and from what pool of money the fee will come.
The incident involving the football team was reported to Dimond High staff on Aug. 20, the first day of school. A mother of a player told KTUU-TV that several older players allegedly sexually assaulted younger teammates during the overnight stay in Fairbanks on Aug. 18.
The school has since fired three football coaches, including the head coach, and disciplined students. The superintendent has not said how many students were involved.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com