After years of a very public battle with alcohol and being tied to the GEAR UP grant, Wessington Springs Superintendent Lance Witte says he will leave the district at the end of the school year.

KELOLAND News spoke with Witte, who was on the board of Mid Central Educational Cooperative right after the GEAR UP scandal broke, about his multiple jobs and roles in education and with the grant. 

Witte had five DUIs spanning back to the 1990s.  When we interviewed him at the end of 2015, he told us he’d been sober for nearly five years.  

But that wasn’t why we wanted to speak with him.  We wanted to ask him about taking GEAR UP grant money and his multiple, and often-lucrative, jobs in education. 

In addition to being Wessington Springs’ Superintendent of Schools, Witte is also the superintendent of Lower Brule School.  He got that job from the American Indian Institute for Innovation.

AIII was the organization started by Stacy Phelps and Scott Westerhuis that took millions in GEAR UP money.

Witte also worked for a consulting firm on GEAR UP and he has his own consulting business, which between the two, took more than $100,000 in GEAR UP money. But he told us after a Mid Central Board meeting at the end of 2015 that he didn’t think any of that was a conflict of interest.

December 9, 2015:

Angela Kennecke: And are you able to do all these jobs? You’ve got the superintendent job–two schools you’re superintendent of, is that correct? Wessington Springs and Lower Brule?  Then you’re working as a consultant, you’re doing all this strategic planning, how do you do all that? 
Witte: I just work a lot.

Witte will stay on as superintendent at Lower Brule.  While Witte did not answer our recent calls and emails, he remains listed as a consultant on the Cambrian Group’s website out of Alabama.