INDIANAPOLIS - Franklin Township taxpayers will continue to pay for Walter Bourke’s health insurance premiums until he reaches 65, despite the former superintendent’s conviction for driving drunk.
Bourke was sentenced late Friday in Noble County court to one year of probation, a 90-day license suspension and 150 hours of community service.
Bourke must also pay more than $666 dollars in fines and court costs, as well as restitution.
Bourke was found to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.26 percent when he rear-ended a vehicle that was stopped at a stop light in Kendallville the night of Oct. 21, 2012, according to a police report.
Following his conviction, taxpayers asked Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney if Bourke would still be eligible to receive his retirement benefits.
Charles Rubright, attorney for the school district, and superintendent Flora Reichanadter confirmed to RTV6 that Bourke will continue to receive his health insurance benefits.
"The school district has been advised by counsel that a guilty plea to an operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated charge does not constitute a condition which would nullify that contract’s provisions," Reichanadter wrote in an email to RTV6.
Bourke's health insurance premiums will cost taxpayers about $141,000 over the next seven years.
Like many superintendents, Bourke’s contract has a morality and ethics clause which allows the school board to cancel his contract for violating criminal statute or conducting himself in a way that "falls below the exemplary standards of behavior for adults and youth that the Superintendent should establish and maintain."
But Bourke was arrested in October, several months after he retired from the Franklin Township Community School Corporation.
Rubright explained that the only thing that would prevent Bourke from receiving the health insurance would be if he were to work for a school corporation for more than a year which provides paid health insurance benefits.
At this time of his arrest, Bourke was serving as the executive director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, but he has since resigned his position.
Rubright told RTV6 he plans to meet with the school board later in February to discuss the health insurance issue.