Thursday, June 21, 2012
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COVINGTON -- Newton County School System Superintendent Gary Mathews will not call for any disciplinary action of the Alcovy High School principal after public allegations of the misappropriation of school funds.
Mathews sent out a media alert on Thursday afternoon addressing allegations from the public that Principal LaQuanda Carpenter had purchased alcohol with public funds while on a school-sponsored student trip to Florida in 2010 and also mismanaged school club funds.
"At the request of several members of the Newton County Board of Education, I am reporting to the public-at-large that I have completed an investigation regarding allegations related to the purchase and/or consumption of alcohol on a student trip as well as missing funds from the school's band account," he wrote in the e-mail. "In short, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence does not call for any disciplinary action to be handed out."
On June 11, Mathews deferred a question from The Citizen seeking information about his investigation to school board Attorney Kent Campbell, and neither has responded until this time. On June 5, Mathews said he was "not in the position to comment" about the investigation at that time. In May in a letter read during a school board meeting about the allegation, he said that no missing funds had been recorded by auditors or brought to his attention.
In Thursday's e-mail, Mathews said he reported his recent findings in the school board's executive session on June 5. He said he interviewed six individuals over the last several weeks who stated they were present on the trip in question and at a particular restaurant in Florida during the spring of 2010.
"All but one, and all claimed to be present, confirmed that Principal Carpenter neither purchased nor consumed alcohol while at this restaurant which was/is the site of the alleged event," he wrote in Thursday's e-mail. "As for missing band funds (cash), clearly school officials should have kept better records in this particular account. That said, there is no evidence to suggest that any particular individual deliberately misused or misappropriated funds."