ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An internal audit shows $4,000 went missing for a program aimed at helping homeless students. Albuquerque Public Schools’ Title 1 Homeless Project caters to more than 3,000 students across the district, and APS says the culprit is the program’s director.
The Homeless Project is supposed to help students with school supplies, uniforms, even tutoring help, but instead, APS says the director stashed cash away.
“On behalf of the APS family, I want to apologize to those who give to the Title 1 Homeless Project and that give to the students and families it serves,” APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy said.
The district says back in May, employees with the Homeless Project came across $1,600 tucked away in a safe. APS says that money was supposed to get immediately deposited to use for the program, but the program’s director, Anthony Fairley, put the cash into the safe and never reported it.
APS says employees then alerted school officials, who began their investigation. The money was donated by Presbyterian Hospital.
Parents say any penny stolen, is heartbreaking for the kids who need it the most. “I hope they continue and find some funds to recoup for the children that it’s affecting,” Marvin Martinez said.
After the APS investigation, it found a total of $4,000 was missing. However, in light of what happened, the district wants to re-evaluate how the Homeless Project handles its money since it often works with cash and gift cards.
The district says the director was placed on paid leave during the investigation and has since been fired. The district says Fairley had been with APS on and off since 2005, wearing many hats like assistant principal and even principal of Jefferson Middle School.
The district is pursuing charges and restitution.
The APS Title 1 Homeless Project offers services to homeless children and their families including:
- Enrollment assistance
- School supplies
- School uniforms
- After-school tutoring programs
- Alphabet Alley Kids preschool and parental support programs
- Summer experiential and reading/math programs
- Referrals to Health Care for the Homeless, APS Clothing Bank, special education and Child Find