Midland Valley coach no longer at school

Bruce Zuehlke, who for 12 years was the baseball coach at Midland Valley High School, is no longer employed by the Aiken County School District.

He is under investigation by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office for fraud and forgery.

From Sept. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2008, Zuehlke is alleged to have “received solicited funds for the Midland Valley High School and converted those funds to his personal use,” according to an incident report.

A decision to follow up on the allegations was approved Sept. 30. The investigation is still ongoing, said Bill Burkhalter, the school district’s attorney. Lt. Troy Elwell, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, did not return a phone message or a page Wednesday night.

The Augusta Chronicle on Oct. 6 requested a copy of Zuehlke’s personnel file through the state’s Freedom of Information Act, but the school district has refused to release it.

It responded to the request Wednesday by releasing seven items from the personnel file, including his name, title, dates of employment and salary. It also included a copy of the incident report from the sheriff’s office.

District policy permits access to a personnel file without employee consent to: school officials involved in evaluation process of the individual and the school board, “if its examination of the file relates to the duties and responsibilities of the board regarding the promotion, demotion, suspension or dismissal of an employee.”

Burkhalter could not say whether Zuehlke was dismissed or he resigned. Zuehlke was employed by the district from Aug. 19, 1991, until last Thursday.

“All I can say is those are the dates of his employment,” Burkhalter said.

Zuehlke, 44, was also a teacher and assistant football coach at the school. He led the Mustangs to a baseball state title in 1997, just his second year as coach.

Zuehlke has not responded to messages left this month on his cell phone, including one early Wednesday evening.

Reach Matt Middleton at (706) 823-3425

or matt.middleton@augustachronicle.com.

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