(San Diego, California) This week, 59-year-old former principal Paulette Thompson was sentenced to five years of probation for her conviction on grand theft and misappropriation of public funds.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Theodore Weathers acknowledged Thursday that Thompson had positively affected many students, parents and staff throughout her long career, as indicated by the letters he received before the hearing.Thompson's lawyer said she is remorseful.
But he said those were the same people whose trust she violated when she took tens of thousands from the San Luis Rey Elementary and Reynolds Elementary schools. The exact amount of the loss is still being sorted out, the judge said.
Weathers ordered Thompson to stay away from the two schools as a condition of probation, and to complete 400 hours of volunteer work at a nonprofit organization. She is not allowed to work or volunteer anywhere in which she would have “fiduciary responsibility,” the judge said.
Principal Guilty of Grand Theft
[Previous 2/6/10 post]
A former principal at San Luis Rey Elementary School, Paulette Dastrup Thompson, 59, pleaded guilty earlier today to charges of grand theft and misappropriation of public funds.
Outside the courtroom, Deputy District Attorney Robert Eichler said Thompson is suspected of receiving nearly $50,000 in checks and cash from San Luis Rey Elementary and Reynolds Elementary. She had served as principal at each school.Sentencing is scheduled for February 4.
At Reynolds, the president of the Parent-Teacher Organization discovered accounting irregularities last year and started an audit, the prosecutor said. When Thompson’s actions came to light, the president notified the school district, which led to an investigation involving the Oceanside Police Department and eventually the District Attorney’s Office.
Eichler said it’s not clear whether all of the money was used improperly, but much of it was withdrawn from a bank account Thompson set up in the name of San Luis Rey Elementary, a violation of school district policy.
Thompson admitted to the judge Tuesday that she diverted some of the money, about $1,800, to her relatives. She received about $10,000 from the San Luis Rey’s parent-teacher organization that was intended to pay for a shade structure to be installed at the school. Instead, the Oceanside Unified School District paid for the structure.
She also admitted taking just over $120 from the district that was intended for school books.