Michael Greening, the principal of Royal Oak High School facing felony embezzlement charges stemming from "the possibility of financial irregularities in student activities funds," has resigned.
According to a statement from the school district:
The School District of the City of Royal Oak has received and accepted a letter of resignation from Michael Greening, Royal Oak High School Principal.
The resignation is from all employment with the school district and is effective June 30, 2012.
Shawn Lewis-Lakin, Superintendent of Schools, stated: "The letters Mr. Greening and I have exchanged were simple one sentence letters in which he resigned and I accepted his resignation on behalf of the district."
Royal Oak School District Policy authorizes the superintendent of schools to accept resignations.
No additional statements or information will be provided at this time.
Greening is due back in court Friday on two felony embezzlement charges, each carrying a maximum five-year penalty and/or fines.
In late December, Lewis-Lakin sent a letter to the school's roughly 1,500 students and their families saying Greening had been placed on paid administrative leave "due to the possibility of financial irregularities in student activities funds."
Greening has been with the school district as a teacher and administrator for about 15 years.
Reaction to the news from parents and students was that of resignation and sadness.
"Money was missing and the person in charge didn't give good answers," said Jeanette Quesada, who has a daughter who is a sophomore at the high school. "They gave him opportunity to supply answers but he couldn't."
Bill LeAnnais, who was a senior class officer last year, said he wasn't surprised by the news. "It just saddens me," he said.
Greening took more than $11,000 over two years from cash deposits intended for the school's student activities account, according to police testimony in April.
The student activities fund includes money from variety of events, clubs and groups such as football, drama club, prom and the Spirit Club.
Royal Oak Police Detective Keith Spencer testified in 44th District Court in Royal Oak that during his investigation he was told the only personnel who had access to the school's safes were Greening and his secretaries and that Greening had sole authority to remove or move funds around in the student activities accounts.
As an example, Spencer said that on Dec. 13, just three days before Greening was placed on leave, an athletic booster’s activity submitted a cash deposit to the main office for $1,243.73. It was noted that a deposit slip had been filled out and signed by Brian Gordon, the school's athletic director and assistant principal.
“The deposit was placed into one of two safes in the vault by the principal’s secretary, Lynne Staszak, to be counted later," Spencer testified. "When Ms. Staszak pulled the money out of the safe to count it, she noted the amount of cash in the deposit was significantly smaller than what it was when she has placed it in the safe."
After counting they money, she noted it was $1,000 short of the original submission.
Gordon noted that the deposit slip he filled out was missing and in its place was one written by someone else for $240.73.
Since Greening was placed on leave, he has enjoyed support from the community, including a Save Greening Facebook page with more than 900 members, public comment at school board meetings, a student walkout and appearances at court dates.
– This story was reported by Royal Oak Patch Editor Judy Davids and written by Associate Regional Editor Beth Valone.