A second set of charges was filed against former Huber Middle School Administrator George Watkins during a special meeting of the Douglas Unified School District Governing Board last night, Wednesday, December 5.
Prior to issuing of new charges the board reviewed a settlement agreement offered by Watkins. Following a 40 -minute executive session, the board rejected the settlement unanimously.
During the meeting, the board also ratified its previous action.
Reportedly, the administration told Watkins during a meeting that he could have a hearing in open or closed session, but failed to provide the same information in the notice sent to his home.
Because of the error, the 30-day appeal process begins again.
Three separate charges were filed on Wednesday following a 30-minute executive session, relating to misappropriation of student funds involving sales of items.
With the approval of the charges, Watkins has 30 days to file his intent to appeal the termination.
In the first incident, during the 2006-07 school year, students were charged $5 for IDs and $7 for replacement IDs.
A total of 415 IDs were sold and 15 replacement IDs amounting to a total of $2,180. According to Lucinda Manjarres, funds were turned into Watkins daily.
No ID deposits were made to either student activities or student auxiliary accounts during the 2006-07 or 2007-08 school years.
The only cash deposit during this time period was $30 to the Yearbook account.
In the second charge, the district alleges that Watkins failed to deposit funds for lanyards sold during 2007-08.
Approximately 259 lanyards were sold at $2 each and six for $3 each for a total of $524.
The last charge involves the sale of physical education uniforms.
No purchase order for uniforms have been made since 2005-06, and the Physical Education department has only been selling any leftover shirts or shorts for the 2006-07 and 2007-08 school years.
It was reported that only a few items sold this year, but no deposit of these funds were made.
On October 1, funds were turned into Watkins to place in the safe totaling $1,143.50. An additional check was brought to him of $15.25. When asked to look at the money to count it and finalize the numbers before they went to the bank, Watkins could only provide the check and a portion of the funds. He said he forgot the safe key at his home. When the money was returned on October 3, they were not in the same envelopes or in the same denominations in which they had been delivered.
In a meeting with central administration, Watkins said he had used the money to make change. Regardless, use of the funds was in violation of school district policy.
On October 4, Watkins said he used approximately $250 collected by students to give to a student's mother to help her with food cost for her child's restrictive diet. When the mother was called, it turned out funds had not been given to her.
In a later interview Watkins admitted lying about giving the money to the child's mother to cover misuse of funds.
Between Oct 2 and 3, according to the charges, Watkins attempted to fraudulently use Tax Credit money to purchase 13 tickets at $15.25 for the Chamber Theatre Productions to cover the cost of the missing money originally brought to him. Watkins then told them he was using that Tax Credit money to purchase the tickets. Later, the business office was contacted by Sally Portugal about use of the Tax Credit money in this way.
When questioned by central administration, Watkins said he was using the Tax Credit money to purchase tickets for needy students at an instructor’s request. It was later learned no such request had been made.
In a separate incident, Watkins had been given the proceeds of the Welcome Back Dance of $653. Records indicated Watkins failed to deposit the funds within a week of the event. When asked about the deposit, Watkins stated the funds were used to buy lanyards. This had been done without student council approval.
According to a purchase order, it clearly stated that district funds were used to buy the lanyards.
Seven $100 bills were found in the safe opposed to the $653 in small bills that were given to Watkins.
The final incident occurred on September 12 and 20 when the National Honor Society sponsored a juice pop sale. They provided Watkins a total of $188.
Again, that money was never deposited.
According to statements from those interviewed, there have been several fundraisers with money generated and given to Watkins.
The board ended the December 5 meeting by unanimously making themselves the hearing officers for the termination appeal.
An earlier motion by Board member Art Estrada to select a separate hearing officer died for the lack of a second.