Janesville49.9°

Milton High School dividing responsibilities after Quinn conviction

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Stacy Vogel
October 26, 2007
— Milton School District officials hope more eyes on the district’s money will help keep that money where it belongs.

The district has redefined job descriptions to make sure several people are involved in collecting and depositing money since the theft conviction of Melinda Quinn, former high school financial secretary.


“The idea is that there are going to be more people who are watching along the way,” said Dianne Meyer, district business manager.


The move is one of several the district is taking after Quinn pleaded guilty in June to stealing $47,000 from the high school over five years.


Quinn was sentenced to six months in jail, five years probation and 100 hours of community service. She began serving her sentence on electronic home monitoring Sept. 27.


On Sept. 28, Quinn was ordered to pay $96,137 to the district. The amount includes:


-- $47,140 stolen from the school district.


-- $6,679 stolen from the high school “sunshine pop account,” a fund created by staff for purchases such as flowers for sick co-workers.


-- $42,318 for the cost of the investigation.


The district will use the money to repay its insurance company, which covered $100,000 in stolen funds and investigation costs.


Accountants suspect Quinn may have stolen between $100,000 and $300,000, according to the criminal complaint.


Quinn stole the money through a complicated method of switching cash and checks, district officials previously told The Janesville Gazette.


Her case follows the 1998 conviction of Becky Fry, who stole $40,000 from Milton Middle School student activity accounts while she was a secretary there.


The district is following recommendations from its forensic investigator to try to prevent another theft. The recommendations include providing police presence during registration, when high amounts of money for student fees are exchanged.


Quinn admitted to taking most of the money during registration, the complaint said.


The district is instituting a few other changes, Meyer said, but she declined to describe them.


“Those are items that we prefer the public not to note so that it doesn’t jeopardize our safety of handling money,” she said.


Despite the changes, there’s no surefire way to prevent theft in any school district, Meyer said.


“As the forensics investigator and the police told me, you can put all the controls in place that you possibly can, and if someone wants to steal money, they’re going to find a way to do it,” she said.


“We’re doing the best we can.”



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