There seems to be a lot of sensible people on this post so I thought I'd get some input to a moral dilemma. I work for an private school which does fund raising. The parents raised over $5000 last year. This money was to go to specific purchases agreed upon by the administrator and the parents. Over the summer the administrator canceled the agreed purchases and used the money for other costs. No one knew until returning this fall. Interestingly enough, the parents are split on their opinions. Some believe it was a poor choice by a desperate person. Others feel it was stealing. Needless to say, us employees are confused as to handle this situation. Any thoughts?
Leah from Somewhere, Canada
In my opinion the administrator did not have the right to spend the money without consulting the parents first. I agree with the parents, he did steal the money for other purposes than what was intended in the beginning. That is misappropriation of funds.
Is there anyone who is over the adminstrator who you can talk to? If you confront him yourself, you may probably lose your job. If he is any kind of a moral person he should pay back the $5,000.
When you say the administrator used the money for "other costs" do you mean school related or for himself? If they were school related it was poor judgement to do so without discussion. But if it was for his personal use, that's stealing. In America they put you in jail for that.
I think it depends a lot upon what the "other costs" were - if it was an emergency & the funds had to be used for basic needs, that's one thing - But if the money was used for frivolous purposes, and essentially "frittered away" - that's a whole other matter -
I would think you should be able to ask for a complete accounting of the money. If not then you might want to ask a solictor for their opinion.
If the expenditures agreed upon were in writing, it's fraud. If the money was diverted to something essential (Flood, roof repair, etc.) I'd let the matter go.
How sad to be put into this situation. Can you make sure that this person no longer has access to any of your funds? Do so, if possible.
Any attorneys in your group?
My PTG raised $15,000 in a fund-raising gala in February only to have the school board take that money and give it to a professional fund-raising group for their fees.
One person should not have the right to decided how to spend $5,000 without consulting anyone else unless it is coming from their personal account. What recourses do you have? I think if there is a school board the matter should be brought before the board. The principal needs to understand that a position of great responsibility comes with lots of accountability. That was not his money, it was the schools. You did not say what the money was spent on, and although if it all went to school expenses, they still should have been brought up before some type of committee. A principal is only as strong as his employers, which in your case, are the parents. This should not go without some sort of consequence, or at least a look at how such a thing could happen so that it doesn't ever happen again. I would think that charges could be filed is the funds were not used for the specific intent agree upon. life is full of consequences.
I certainly think an audit is in order. I presume the proposed purchases and their costs were documented, in which case this should be a legal matter to be resolved in a court of law. At the very least it appears the administrator pulled a very unprofessional stunt with other peoples' money. If he can't be prosecuted he might at least be replaced.
Every penny of that money should be accounted for. The administrator's actions might all be justified by unknown circumstances... well, all except failing to seek approval from the parents and/or school board. I think that was inexcusable.
Thanks to all who responded to this post. We were told that the costs were school related but many are skeptical. The administrator is the boss. There is no school board as such, so this person is accountable to no one. It has been very difficult to continue working there. There's an eerie calm within the school. This has been a hard lesson for many.
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