Mehlville Board of Education terminates Walters’ contract with district

By Staff Report

Point Elementary School Principal Jim Walters’ indefinite contract was terminated by the Mehlville Board of Education Thursday night.

In a 7-0 vote, the board voted to “move, for the reasons set forth in the May 23, 2012 charges of termination of indefinite contract, which were not timely contested by Dr. James Walters following service of the charges and notice of the charges on him, the Board of Education hereby terminates Dr. Walters’ indefinite contract, Dr. Walters’ employment agreement as a principal for the 2012-2013 school year and Dr. Walters’ employment with the Mehlville School District.”

The motion was made by board member Rich Franz and seconded by board member Ron Fedorchak.

Board members also approved a one-year contract for Daniel Gieseler to serve as the new Point Elementary principal for the 2012-2013 school year. Gieseler comes to Mehlville from the Rockwood School District and will earn a salary of $95,000.

That motion was made by board Secretary Larry Felton and seconded by board Vice President Elaine Powers.

Walters was issued a citation by park security at about 3 p.m. March 16, during the district’s spring break, near Concourse and McKinley in Forest Park for allegedly grabbing his genitals “while talking to a person in his vehicle, who later confessed to what was happening,” the citation states.

District officials were notified of the allegations against Walters March 19. A letter from Superintendent Eric Knost was sent to parents March 20 stating, “… The principal will not return to Point Elementary unless and until the district determines that to do so is appropriate and safe for all students.”

Retired Principal Jim Schibig had been the substitute principal since the district returned from spring break.

Walters served as Point’s principal since July 1, 2007. During a March 15 closed session, the Board of Education voted to re-employ Walters, along with other elementary principals, for the 2012-2013 school year.

In a May 12 email to parents, Knost wrote that Walters would not return to Point as principal.

“… Regretfully, I am writing to inform you that Dr. Walters will not be returning as the principal for Point Elementary School,” Knost’s email stated. “The district will immediately begin work to secure an excellent principal for Point’s future. I realize many of you may have questions regarding the reasons Dr. Walters will not be returning to his principal duties; however, please know it is inappropriate for the district to disclose or discuss such personnel matters relating to employees.”

Walters’ hearing on charges of lewd and indecent conduct is scheduled for July 26 in St. Louis Municipal Court. Walters’ attorney, Neil Bruntrager, told the Call last month Walters’ plea remains not guilty.

“We adamantly deny any wrongdoing of any sort,” Bruntrager said May 8, “and again, in terms of the specifics (of evidence either for or against Walters), we haven’t seen it all, but let’s leave it at we adamantly deny any wrongdoing of any sort.”