School district gets first insurance check for stolen technology money

“Committed to putting…that money back into technology”

The Gunnison Watershed School District collected its first insurance payment, worth more than $92,000, related to the apparent theft of more than $600,000 funneled to phony equipment supply companies by former information technology director Cannon Leatherwood.Another insurance check for more than $350,000 is being negotiated.



Superintendent Doug Tredway told the board at a meeting earlier this year the district’s insurance company said it is willing to pay the district’s claim from the 2012-13 school year for $93,628, minus a $1,000 deductible.
But before the district cashes the check, its attorney is reviewing the agreement to make sure it’s just one check representing one year of losses and not a check for the entire claim. “We haven’t accepted that yet. We’re just making sure we’re not accepting one check for the whole thing,” Tredway said.
Now that the district has gotten a final report from its technology consultant, Mitchell and Company, about what was found in a review last month of the school district’s technology infrastructure, a technology committee is in the process of turning any funds recovered from the insurance company or through the courts is into useful tools in the classroom.
“We wanted them to talk to us about building a long-term budget and we also want them to find any holes we might have in the program and do a thorough review of our entire system,” Tredway says.
In the technology audit, presented to the school board February 10, Kelley Mitchell, owner of Mitchell and Company, said there weren’t any immediate technology concerns or needs, but he did say there were problems with some of the district’s vendor equipment and software maintenance contracts and  other software licensing agreements.
Going forward, Mitchell suggested several steps to improve the governance of the district’s technology infrastructure and recommended changes to the technology infrastructure   that would help avoid having several pieces of technology become obsolete at the same time and repurpose out of date technology to perform other tasks in the district.
The budget Mitchell supplied the district looks out seven years. It may take a long time to get back all of the recoverable money, however. The judge in the criminal case against Leatherwood put a stay on any civil litigation against the former IT director, who is facing eight counts of felony theft for his alleged role in an embezzlement scheme that netted more than $411,000, until the criminal case is over. A civil suit would allow the district to go after missing money the criminal case doesn’t account for.
“[A civil suit] is definitely not off the table,” Tredway said. “One possibility is that the insurance company will join us because they’ll be out the money and they’ll have an interest in getting some of that back.”
Until then, Tredway says, the district will continue to pursue compensation through its insurance policy.
“We aren’t done with it yet,” Tredway said of the claims. “We’re committed to putting as much of that money back into technology for students as we can.”

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