RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A former Western Dakota Tech employee says the elimination of three positions in the financial aid office is retaliation for the department's role in the Rapid City school being place on probation by an accreditation group.

School President Ann Bolman disputes that.

The Higher Learning Commission put the school on two years of probation in March and gave it until June 1 to file a plan of improvement.

Former worker Starla Russell says she and other financial aid staff were forthcoming about the school's effectiveness during a campus visit by a Higher Learning Commission team. She says school administrators' demeanor toward the department changed after that.

Bolman tells the Rapid City Journal that the decision to remove the three employees is part of a broader reorganization strategy.

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