Education

Mountain View principal repays school credit card charges, announces retirement

Mountain View High School in the West Ada School District.
Mountain View High School in the West Ada School District. Statesman file

Aaron Maybon, Mountain View High School principal, has voluntarily repaid the school district $1,954.68 after auditors raised questions about some purchases he made in the past 10 months on his district-supplied credit card.

Among the items in question: National Football League tickets to a Baltimore Ravens game attended by five staff members in November, purchase of admission to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City in September and $200 in lodging at a Holiday Inn Express in Salt Lake City at the end of a school trip, district officials say.

Maybon, principal at Mountain View since it opened in 2003, announced to his staff last week that he would retire at the end of the school year to pursue other interests, said Eric Exline, district spokesman. West Ada School District trustees will consider his separation from the district, as well as other district employees, at its meeting Tuesday night.

He said it is pure coincidence that the retirement announcement comes amid questions about the purchases. He and his wife talked about retirement before the investigation began, he said.

“I was not asked to retire or resign by anyone,” he said. “It wasn’t even suggested to me.”

Maybon acknowledged he could have done a better job reconciling card purchases. “I got behind on things,” he said. “There was no ill intent whatsoever. I have always been about kids.”

Maybon volunteered to reimburse the district for 23 questioned charges, Exline said.

Many of the charges questioned by auditors just needed further documentation or explanation, Exline said. Some charges included food for meetings and computer equipment and repair. Maybon ended up reimbursing the district for charges that appeared to be legitimate school costs, Exline said.

The matter was not turned over to law enforcement.

The Idaho Statesman obtained records about Maybon’s purchasing card from the district under Idaho’s public records law.

Maybon’s repayments came in four installments: $300 on April 18; $210 on April 28; $1,062.18 on May 2; and $382.50 on May 5.

West Ada’s financial staff began looking into Mountain View’s use of purchasing cards in early April following a routine audit of the school’s finances, Exline said. During a two-week investigation, district officials spoke with seven staff members and a former employee at Mountain View and combed through records. The investigation went back through financial records of the 2014-15 school year.

The West Ada district declined the Statesman’s public records request for a copy of the in-house investigation, citing the law’s personnel-record exemption.

Rules governing purchasing cards, which function like credits cards and are often called P cards, require purchases be for school or district use. They also require that the money comes from the correct account. Misusing a P card can result in personal liability for charges, disciplinary action that can include termination or criminal prosecution, according to district policy.

Football tickets were purchased through an online company called VividSeat, according to expense records and were billed to Maybon at the school’s Meridian address. While a receipt showed the purchase of game tickets, it was only through the investigation that they discovered the tickets were for an NFL game, Exline said.

Five people, including three administrators and two counselors, were visiting the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., last November and attended the game.

Several of the purchases were not debited to the correct account. The football tickets, for example, were paid for through the student council account, but money from that account should only be used for the student council, Exline said.

Maybon said payment for the NFL tickets was supposed to come out of a faculty account. If the money was taken from a student council account, that is an error, he said.

“I will be very adamant that be clarified,” he said.

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