Seattle school principal accused of mishandling $30,000


by KING 5 News Staff

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 7:11 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 26 at 5:46 PM

SEATTLE --Seattle police are investigating claims by the Seattle School District that the former principal at Van Asselt Elementary School mishandled $30,000 in school funds.

Families of students at Van Asselt received a letter from the district this week that accuses former principal Eldoris Turner of mishandling the money.

The incident started in April 2011, when calls came in reporting improper use of the school's gym. The district asked the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to investigate.

What they found was Turner, with the help of fellow staff member Ramona Fuentes, had an unauthorized bank account that she withdrew $30,000 from over a span of 18 months. The account contained money from school fundraisers. The investigation also found Turner was renting out the school's gym, but pocketed the money instead of handing it over to the school district.

"That's the issue," said City of Seattle Ethics Commission officer Wayne Barnett. "There is no documentation of where the money came from and where it went."

In March 2012, when the investigation was done, Turner was placed on administrative leave. Two days later, she retired. Just last month, Fuentes was fired.

"My daughter has a good education. It's sad to hear," said Mark Lacy, a parent at Van Asselt.

The case has been handed over to the Seattle Police Department, who has assigned a detective to investigate.

The Ethics Commission is also investigating whether the sports group that used the gym at Van Asselt is also doing the same thing at another school. Using the gym for profit events is against district rules.


KING 5's Natasha Ryan and Tonya Mosley contributed to this report.