Dixie Elementary principal resigns after investigation into spending practices
The principal of Dixie Elementary has resigned after an investigation into spending practices at his school. An audit concluded Adrian Sanford may have mishandled more than $60,000 in school funds.
An anonymous letter last May asked school officials to look at Dixie Elementary spending. A three-month audit uncovered a long list of improper spending and other violations.
Jewell Hatchell is a parent of a Dixie Elementary student: "It's a very big shock to me, and I still don't believe it. It's hard for me to believe."
Many Dixie Elementary parents say Adrian Sanford was a good principal in helping students improve. But school spokeswoman Lauren Roberts says, "These are very, very serious violations. It is infuriating to us that someone would engage in such a serious breech of trust."
School officials say a 2,000-page audit report shows that last year Sanford and his bookkeeper did a very bad job of managing the school's money. Auditor Michael Tronzo explains, "It think it's $66,000 in vendor payments made but not substantiated by either the vendor performing the work or us finding some sort of documentation."
Auditors say Sanford hired and paid vendors without proof their charges were fair or the work was even done. He allowed a convicted felon and others facing criminal charges to work at the school. He improperly hired relatives and put personal purchases on a school credit card.
The mystery is why Adrian Sanford apparently recently began violating school spending policies and proceedures. During his five years at Dixie Elementary, the school passed its twice-a-year audits and Sanford never faced any disiplinary action. Bill Eckles of JCTA Human Resources says, "He's been with the district for quite a while, and he did come up from lower-level positions, and he was promoted through the system. It's very disappointing."
Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel will review the matter and is expected to decide on whether criminal charges should be filed.