The former No.2 person in the Marion County Public Schools, Jonathan Grantham, has resigned under pressure after an internal investigation found he used school district employees, equipment and materials for his personal benefit.
The investigation into Grantham’s conduct started in June while former Superintendent of Schools Heidi Maier, Grantham’s boss for four years, was still superintendent. Grantham’s resignation is formally effective Dec. 2, 2020, but he was relieved of his duties on Sept. 14 and will be using vacation and sick time until December, school district correspondence shows.
While Maier was superintendent from 2016 to June of this year, Grantham served as deputy superintendent for instruction. After Maier departed, he was reassigned and worked as a district program specialist but had been applying for superintendent jobs elsewhere.
Investigators talked to 12 witnesses over the course of their three-month investigation, many of them top school district administrators along with secretarial staff who worked for Grantham. Investigators say their inquiry revealed a pattern of misconduct by Grantham that violated school district and state ethics codes as well as violations of the school district’s email policies.
“The investigative findings revealed multiple instances that Dr. Jonathan Grantham had solicited and accepted benefits of value from Marion County School Board employees,” the 30-page investigative report states.
Grantham told investigators Maier gave him permission to use school resources but produced no witnesses or documentation to support his claim.
Among the instances where Grantham is accused of using his position to get employees to do work for him were:
- Getting his assistant to plan a baby shower for his new wife, utilizing Marion Technical College facilities, staff and materials for the event.
- Using his secretaries to prepare class materials and using school system paper and copiers — as well as Marion Technical Institute classrooms — for classes he taught for National Louis University as an adjunct professor.
- Soliciting help from administrators who worked for him in moving to new homes – twice – using school email.
- Asking those same administrators for help preparing his lakeside home for his wedding.
- Asking his secretaries to pick his children up from school on numerous occasions and running other personal errands, like picking up his dry cleaning during school work hours.
- Getting the MTC hospitality manager to cater his wedding at a greatly reduced cost and using MTC tables and chairs, which were moved to and from the wedding venue using a school district truck and school staff during work hours.
- Getting the school district’s facilities chief to print large-scale house plans on multiple occasions.
The investigation was conducted by Dwana Gary, district director of equity and ethics, and school district Special Investigator Tyson Collins.