By Carlie Connolly/News staff
School District 63 (Saanich) and the Central Saanich Police are investigating the disappearance of $40,000 from the bank account of the Keating Home and School Association (KHASA). In mid-July, police were contacted by a member of the Keating Elementary School parent advisory council (known as KHASA), advising them of their concern. The department has since been working closely with members of the council, the school district and school administrators to determine what has taken place.
“Like anything, our investigations are open minded and the focus of our investigation is around record keeping and the person responsible for that,” said police Chief Les Sylven.
Superintendent of Schools Keven Elder says normally funds raised by a PAC are spent in accordance with the needs of the school, based on consultation with administration and staff. Often it’s for playground or other equipment focussed on children and outdoor play.
“In this case the $40,000 was targeted for an outdoor play structure and that plan of course now goes on hold,” Elder said.
A single person is being investigated, Elder said.
“We’re not in the position to comment on who that is but it was a person who was associated with the PAC executive over the past while.”
There is still a council in place, working to find the best way to restore trust.
“They are working hard to ensure that people have the trust and confidence that is properly placed in them because everybody was taken by surprise with this based on the actions of the person who is under investigation now,” Elder said.
Sylven said a hint of wrongdoing involving a charitable organization is difficult for the community to come to terms with.
“Our job is to set that emotion aside and professionally and diligently gather all of the information that we can and at the end of the trail if it turns out that there’s sufficient evidence to bring the person or persons responsible to justice, then we’ll do that.”