TIPP CITY – The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools’ assistant superintendent “engaged in serious misconduct” by keeping money in an unapproved bank account, according to a letter from his boss.
Assistant Superintendent Galen Gingerich received a 10-day suspension and was stripped of five vacation days. It came as a disciplinary measure imposed for keeping money in an unapproved bank account from 1999 to 2015 while previously serving as principal of a district elementary school, according to personnel documents obtained by this news organization.
District Superintendent Gretta Kumpf told Gingerich in a letter dated May 14 that she found he had “engaged in serious misconduct warranting discipline.”
Gingerich was placed on paid administrative leave without explanation by Kumpf and district Treasurer Dave Stevens on April 11. He returned to work Monday when the district issued a statement saying an internal investigation was complete and the situation addressed appropriately.
In the letter, Kumpf said she found Gingerich collected public money through fundraising activities at Broadway Elementary School and failed, as required by the Ohio Revised Code and board policy, to turn the money into the treasurer’s office for deposit into an account approved by the board of education.
The account was discovered when a bank statement was inadvertently forwarded to Stevens’ office.
Kumpf said when Gingerich was asked by Stevens about the account, his response was “you were not supposed to know about this.” She wrote she found that statement “troubling.”
An investigation by Stevens showed “much of the money” in the account was spent for school-related purposes such as food, beverages and supplies for staff meetings and school functions, when support organizations intended for the funds to be used to purchase technology and equipment to donate to the school library, Kumpf said.
“You are maintaining your employment with the school district because Mr. Stevens could not conclude the expenditures you made from this bank account were for personal or other illegitimate purposes,” Kumpf wrote. “However, you showed extremely poor judgment in your operation of this bank account in violation of the aforementioned board policies.”
Gingerich took control of the bank account in 1999 while principal after outside school support organizations disbanded, the letter said. Money was deposited from fundraisers and spent without knowledge of district treasurers, the letter said.
The account was not used after Gingerich left the school as principal and became the assistant superintendent in mid-2015, Stevens said. State auditors were notified about the account, he said.
The 10-day suspension will be credited to the time when Gingerich was on leave. Arrangements were being made for repayment to the district of 10 days of pay Gingerich received, Stevens said.