Nearly $26,000 has gone missing from Lake Area New Tech Early College High School’s accounts, the charter group that runs the school announced Tuesday.
The New Beginnings Schools Foundation discovered the disappearance of $25,833.52 from a student activities account during an internal audit. Because the investigation is ongoing, the four-school network didn’t provide any insight Tuesday on what might have happened.
New Beginnings notified the New Orleans Police Department and the state Legislative Auditor.
No Lake Area field trips or enrichment activities will suffer. The foundation that runs the schools has replenished the account in full, according to a press release.
The missing cash was announced nearly two months after the network learned of an unexpected windfall. Due to a change in state law that brings an increased allocation to Orleans Parish schools, New Beginnings is due for a total of $1.9 million in deferred revenue.
The loss is not the first announced this year for a charter management group. In February, the Legislative Auditor’s office revealed that a KIPP employee had embezzled about $70,000 during the 2012-2013 school year. The employee was fired, and the school recovered the money through an insurance claim.
In the 2011-12 school year, a Lusher Charter School employee was accused of embezzling $25,000. Lauren R. Hightower returned the money, but she was charged with theft from a program that receives federal funds, a federal crime. Hightower pleaded guilty in October and was later sentenced to five years of probation and $2,100 in fines and assessments.
A former business manager at another charter school, New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, was charged with taking $31,000 from that school in the 2011-12 school year. Darrell K. Sims pleaded not guilty; the case is still pending.