Anchorage School District Fires Four Staff Members

Four Anchorage School District employees have been fired and one charged with stealing money from her school. The district made the announcement Thursday morning.

Flanked by two Anchorage police detectives from the financial crime unit and the district’s chief financial officer on her other side, Anchorage School Superintendent described the status of the ongoing investigation.

“The cases were financial theft at Chugiak High School, West High School and O’Malley Elementary.”

Two of the four terminated employees were at Chugiak. Gayle White, an administrative assistant at the high school was charged in mid March with 2nd degree theft and falsifying business records. Police and school officials have yet to determine how much money was taken at the three schools, but second degree theft covers crimes from 500 to 25 thousand dollars.

According to Detective Anthony Pate, the other three investigations have not yet reached the point for charges until school audits are completed.

Three of the employees were office staff and one at O’Malley Elementary—was with food service.

Comeau said the first tip came from internal sources.

Comeau said about 20 families called the O’Malley principal who initiated the investigation.

At the two high schools, when students asked for refunds or records of library fine payments they discovered there were no receipts. Comeau said the district is prepared to cover the student and parent losses.

Comeau said the investigations are expanding beyond the three schools mentioned in the press conference.

The district’s Chief Financial Officer, Had Stiteler, said while the district has cash controls at the individual schools, these cases have shown there needs to be improved record keeping and oversight. That process, he said, has already begun.

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage

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