Tom Smart, Deseret News
WEST VALLEY CITY — A Utah principal who had $14,000 in cash and checks for school registration fees stolen from his car is apologizing for violating district policy.
“I’m very sorry this all happened, and it happened because I made a poor decision not following policy,” Granger High School Principal Jerry Haslam said.
The policy requires administrators to deposit school money the same day. The night of July 30, district officials say Haslam took the money and checks home in a bag and left the bag in his car overnight.
The next morning, Haslam said he came out to find two of his car windows broken and the money missing.
“It looks like all they did was pop the window, reach in and grab the bag,” Unified Police detective Jared Richardson said. “They actually never opened it and rummaged through the car. It was just a quick grab-and-go.”
Haslam said he is apologizing to families who had to stop payment on their checks and to his staff for having to redo bookkeeping. He said Granger High School can’t afford the loss.
Haslam said he intends to repay whatever funds cannot be recovered by police. That could be as much as $6,000, with the school and district working to stop payment on the other $8,000 in parents’ checks.
“He’s turned around that school in testing and brought them to the next level,” said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. “This just appears to be an unfortunate breach of practice and policy.”
Horsley said Haslam has been disciplined by the district, but declined to say what the discipline was.
Richardson said the Haslam car burglary was the only one reported in the area that night.
Detectives declined to speculate whether the theft was targeted or whether the burglar simply got lucky.
Horsley said if parents have any additional concerns regarding the stolen funds, they should contact Granite School District’s school accountability services at 385-646-5000.
“They’ve already been counted as paid-in-full,” Horsley said. “A family shouldn’t be experiencing any loss in respect to this particular theft.”
Haslam said the cash and checks were in a blue bag that had the insignia of the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association on it. It also had a desert arch symbol on it.
Richardson said anyone with information on the case should contact the Unified Police Department at 801-743-7000.
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