UPDATE: Details emerging in Waterloo Schools investigation - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Details emerging in Waterloo Schools investigation


WATERLOO (KWWL) - There's more information trickling out concerning an FBI investigation surrounding the Waterloo School District and its superintendent Gary Norris.

Norris and other district officials say they have no idea why they're part of the investigation.

But we've learned Promethean - the company that makes the Activboards - and one of its vendors - Logical Choice Technologies - settled a lawsuit last year involving an Arizona school district.

The Arizona Attorney General's office alleges in that case that Tucson School District officials attended lavish conferences sponsored by those companies that included hotel stays, gift cards, and open bars.

Norris has been adamant about his innocence since he received a federal subpoena Wednesday asking for his communications with Promethean.

In fact, he's been on the offensive from the moment he heard from the FBI - writing school board members and telling the media he's done nothing illegal or improper.

Since Norris took over as superintendent in 2008, installing the white Activboards has been one of the prominent changes he's pushed.

Now, it's put him at the center of a federal investigation.

He still trying to find out who's behind it.

He thinks it's either a result of Promethean's business success or a personal vendetta.

"When you're doing your job, you don't please everyone 100% of the time so there were individuals that would attend board meetings in Sarasota and talk about Gary Norris, it could simply be somebody who dislikes me," said Norris.

The district has also been subpoenaed for information.

School board members are standing by the superintendent.

"I've never had any concerns about his integrity or honesty. He's shown us great character that's working hard to raise student achievement in the district," said School Board Vice President Mike Young.

The Activboards have popped up in other education settings.

Wartburg College bought one for students.

School officials say Norris did not influence their decision.

"Our purpose in getting the Promethean board was to expose our students to the kinds of technology that exists in the schools now that they could potentially be using. We want to prepare our students the best we can for what's out there," said education professor Kathy Book.

Meantime, Norris and the school district will cooperate with investigators while remaining unclear about what it's all about.

"There actually aren't any allegations out there right now that we're aware of, much less any charges. There's simply has been a request for records that came from Florida. At this point, there hasn't been anything specific," said Young.

Waterloo Education Association president Kathy Latta says she will not comment on the matter until any investigation is complete.

The WEA is the union representing teachers in the Waterloo district.

Promethean issued a statement Friday afternoon.

It says: " Promethean Inc has been requested to produce documents relevant to an investigation, which the Company is complying with. We have been in communication with the United States Attorney's Office in Tampa. It is our understanding that Promethean is not the focus of the investigation, but is a witness."

Online Anchor/ReporterBob Waters

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