JCPS confirms investigation into former communications chief Hel - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS confirms investigation into former communications chief Helene Kramer

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Helene Kramer Helene Kramer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools conducted an investigation into former chief communications officer Helene Kramer, but the results of that investigation will not be released to the public.

In a letter sent to WDRB News Friday in response to an open records request, Superintendent Donna Hargens confirmed that Kramer was investigated, but would not say for what.

Click HERE to view the letter.

Hargens said the district is "withholding certain handwritten notes from interviews conducted during an investigation regarding Ms. Kramer."

"The notes are preliminary and were made as an aid to the memory of the interviewer," Hargens wrote in the letter.

Hargens did send a copy of a letter dated May 5 that was sent to Kramer outlining three things. Sources have told WDRB news that the investigation was centered around Kramer releasing confidential information.

"This letter is to confirm our discussion about recent complaints made within the communications department," Hargens wrote in the letter to Kramer.

"Where possible, please deliver difficult information to other employees in person, rather than email. Discussions regarding fellow JCPS employees should be neither encouraged, nor repeated. Your focus should be solely on the district's work. Steady, professional completion of that work must be your main objective at all times," Hargens wrote.

She concluded by telling Kramer to "be cautious with sensitive/confidential information and take appropriate steps to ensure such information is not unnecessarily discussed or overheard."

Hargens notified Kramer Wednesday that her one-year contract was not being renewed. 

This is the second investigation involving Kramer since her arrival at JCPS in August 2015, the previous investigation released to WDRB News was heavily redacted. As a result of that investigation, Kramer was warned for gossiping about a fellow employee's sexual orientation. 

This is the third announced departure from the communications department in less than two weeks. The news came less than a week after the district's primary spokesman, Ben Jackey, submitted his resignation letter. That resignation came just days after another communications staffer, Mandy Simpson, notified the district she would leave on May 22. Both Jackey and Simpson resigned from their positions after taking new jobs.

Sources tell WDRB that Hargens wants to bring former JCPS communications specialist Stephanie Bateman back on an interim basis. Hargens confirmed Friday that Bateman will come back next week to assist in the communications office until the end of the school year.

Kramer, who makes $127,698 annually, replaced Christi Lanier-Robinson, whose two-year contract was not renewed by JCPS. In March 2012, Hargens announced the hiring of Jamilah Fraser, a former chief communications officer with the Philadelphia Public School District to be the district's chief diversity, community relations and communications officer. However, after questions were raised about Fraser's background and qualifications, Fraser sent a letter to Hargens saying she would not accept the job.

The communications department has been the subject of restructuring and turnover since 2012, when Hargens froze or eliminated 89 central office positions as part of an administrative reorganization.

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Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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