Was $13,000 in school trip payments stolen or misplaced?

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A large sum of money to cover the final payment for an annual field trip has vanished and the Albany School District is unsure if it was a theft or a mistake.

The story about the missing money was first reported by the Times Union newspaper.

Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams says the $13,000 was supposed to help cover the cost of an annual 7th grade field trip to Washington D.C. for Harriet Myers Middle School students.

“We go ahead and pay for the field trips so we don’t deny the children and then we collect the money from parents.” said Adams.

The trip in May went off without a hitch.
But then in July, while the district was closing out their fiscal year, staff noticed that the $13,000- a collection of final payments from parents had never been deposited.

Adams told News10’s Anya Tucker that it is protocol for a designated teacher to off drop of payments in an envelope at the school’s main office. She added that this is what seems to have been done in this case. However, what happened to the envelope remains a mystery.

The envelope contained $2,800 in cash. The remaining payments were in the form of checks.

“We don’t know if any of the checks have been cashed at this time. That is why we are asking parents to check with their financial institution to make sure that the checks have not been cashed. The district has not cashed any of those checks.” said Adams. She is asking that parents put a stop on the checks and issue another one to cover their child’s final installment for the trip.

Albany Police are now investigating. Public Information Officer Steve Smith told News10 that it’s not yet clear if the money was stolen or simply misplaced.

Adams says she’s asking anyone who may have information on this case to contact the police or the Albany School District Business Office.

She says she plans on implementing more stringent procedures and protocols for the 2019-2020 school year. One idea, secured money bags that come with locks.

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