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Head Football Coach at Bonney Lake High School Resigns After Allegedly Skimming Student Funds

Chad Barrett has resigned as head of Bonney Lake football after an estimated $17,000 in student-raised funds went unaccounted for. He has since admitted responsibility for the missing funds.

Chad Barrett has resigned from his post as head coach of Bonney Lake Football and school health teacher Wednesday after internal Sumner School District and independent investigations revealed about $17,000 missing from the ASB student account he was in charge of.

“Barrett admitted during the investigation that those funds are missing and unaccounted for, and he acknowledged that he is responsible for those funds,” said district communications spokeswoman Ann Cook. “He acknowledged his actions had no legitimate, professional purpose.”

After the fall football season, BLHS discovered irregularities in fundraising activities led by Barrett. An internal audit by the district determined insufficient monies for two fundraising activities were collected. An independent investigation followed that determined the money was indeed missing. The case has since been forwarded to the State Auditor’s Office.

The money was raised by the Panther football team during this year’s fundraising events for the team.

“Toward the end of football season, our bookkeeper noticed irregularities with the ASB account… it was determined that there wasn’t enough money deposited into the account,” said Cook.

Barrett has been head coach of Bonney Lake football for three years and led the student fundraising efforts for the team. In the first two years, Cook said the annual Panther Football fundraisers netted about $17,000 annually for the program. This year, only $320 was deposited into the ASB account. The full fundraising potential was $20,000, so it's hard to tell how much was actually raised.

Barrett will be responsible for restitution to the district for what was lost, said Cook. The details of that have not been finalized.

While booster funds are managed by team parents, student-led fundraisers are put in the ASB account, which comes under district purview.

Cook said that the missing money was associated with the Elite Fundraiser Gold Card fundraiser, a coupon book students sold for $20 each.

Cook said the district doesn’t know how many personal checks were written and cards were sold because those are missing, too.

“Based on the last two years of the fundraiser, we know the potential income from the cards. Without the cards and without the checks, there isn’t any way to know how much is missing until people contact us and say they bought them,” said Cook. “If people donated money to the football team, we want them to contact us. We need to start gathering information for canceled checks.”

The April 4 Sumner School Board meeting was full of Bonney Lake High School students who supported Barrett and represented the 136 players on the team roster. They donned Team Barrett T-shirts and addressed the board about their faith in the coach. The details of his resignation were unknown to the students and parents at that meeting time.

Parents voiced frustration with BLHS administration on the lack of communication. Players missed football camp opportunities and the students, who got choked up at the podium when talking about their devotion for Barrett, were genuinely worried about his well-being.

The students told the School Board that school administration said Barrett was on sick leave and then were told little else about what had transpired.

“I look over at my brothers, and they are very upset,” said BLHS football player Travis Mayer. “They say the trust has been broken by our coach, but we all love our coach. Our trust has been broken by the administration.”

Frustration led the team to stage a sit-in demonstration in the school commons today and they all came to school and sat on the stage wearing Team Barrett T-shirts. #TeamBarrett is also a trending topic on Twitter.

They painted “Team Barrett” on the BLHS rock, which was removed by school staff. Students who spoke at the school board meeting said that they were threatened with suspension if they continue to protest.

Cook said that the legal situation made it difficult to give the students the full story and that staff worked quickly to accommodate the players and answer their questions as much as they could. The entire process took over a month and Barrett was out sick for personal health reasons during the investigation. Now that Barrett has submitted his resignation, the district can close the human resources case and hand the situation over to the State Auditor’s Office.

“We have not been able to share anything – it’s a highly sensitive personnel issue, so we couldn’t share the status of the coach,” said Cook. “We understand this can be troubling, but we have confidentiality laws that we need to respect. During the investigation, our hope was for another outcome, so we had to be mindful of that.”

Barrett has led Panther Football on a successful run over the last three seasons and the district admits he’ll be hard to replace.

“This is a heartbreaking situation, we all know Barrett is an outstanding coach and has a great impact on Bonney Lake High School,” said School Board member Sherm Voiles to the students in the audience. “We understand your frustration with not being told a lot, and we will do everything we can with the ongoing situations at school.”

Cook said that the posting for a new head football coach should be up on Friday, once Barrett’s resignation becomes official. He was a salaried teacher and earned about $60,000, including base salary and coaching contract.

A hiring committee headed by Athletics Director Tim Thomsen will be responsible for hiring a new head coach, with input from the students. Cook said two football players have already agreed to sit on the board and help with the selection process.

Meanwhile, the district Business Office is reviewing its training, policies and procedures related to fundraising activities, booster clubs and ASB accounts.

“We have every reason to believe this is an isolated incident, and should not be perceived as a reflection of the fundraising efforts by our students and families,” said Debbie Campbell, executive director of Business Services.

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If you donated to the BLHS Football Program during this school year, please contact Debbie Campbell at 253-891-6010, so the district can verify the status of your donation.

For more information on the hiring process for a new head football coach, contact Athletic Director Tim Thomsen at 253-891-5555.

Skippy April 05, 2012 at 07:43 AM
It takes a extra special D-bag to steal virtually all the money raised by the children, but hey he left 'em $320. "60k a year salary" just wasn't enough, my god, really? What a colossal tower of stupidity and greed. I just love it, you steal a $3 loaf of bread from the grocer and they haul your arse off in cuffs. This tool admits to stealing the kids blind to the tune of many thousands and "The case has since been forwarded to the State Auditor’s Office." The case needs to be forwarded to the Attorney Generals Office then, the sheriffs office, then the booking Sergent's window where this tool can finally soak up more tax payer dollars in a little different light. Don'tcha love white collar crime, kinda gives you that warm fuzzy feeling all over.
PC Boy April 05, 2012 at 02:49 PM
He is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you read between the lines, it sounds like there are circumstances not being revealed at this time. Could be he's a scapegoat, taking the blame for someone else due to unexplained reasons. We should give him the benefit of the doubt...
Skippy April 05, 2012 at 02:59 PM
When you are accused of any crime except white collar you get a ride in the black and white and a stay at the luxurious graybar hotel at least till you can raise bail. Also I generally don't read between the lines when the lines are so glaring. “Barrett admitted during the investigation that those funds are missing and unaccounted for, and he acknowledged that he is responsible for those funds,” said district communications spokeswoman Ann Cook. “He acknowledged his actions had no legitimate, professional purpose.” Do innocent people just walk away from a job they so dearly loved and the students obviously loved him? Hmmm me thinks not. Most innocent people would fight like hell to stay and clear their name.
Leo23 April 05, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Your right Skippy, most people would fight like heck to clear themselves especially when their livelihood was at stake. What district would hirer him? On the KOMO news they reported a restitution plan has been set up but no delays of the plan were released. Why would he pay back something if he did not take it? If he is covering for someone else then I have no sympathy for him either, for allowing the real criminal to get away with it.
jodie mayer April 05, 2012 at 06:56 PM
clearly you are not somebody that is remotely close to this situation. Your are the complete D-Bag and TOOL. You should find out the facts before you go spouting off on here!!!
Leo23 April 05, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Jodie if you have the facts to dispute what skippy is saying then please share with the rest of us.
Lauren Padgett (Editor) April 05, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Please refrain from personal attacks or derogatory name-calling, thank you!
Skippy April 05, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Actually Jodie you are WRONG, I am close to this situation. I have multiple family members who attend BLHS and while they may not be on the football team I promise they and ALL the students are hurting because of this. Now get off the computer and go back to class, you have alot yet to learn.
Skippy April 05, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Lesson for Jodie; The reason for my vitriol is that all students, faculty, and parents are damaged by the actions of Mr. Barrett and those like him who are ENTRUSTED to look after the welfare of those they are hired to teach. By stealing from the students who worked hard to make that money, who looked up to him, he has succeeded in not only showing you what poor life choices result in, but how easy it is to shatter the trust of another human. If we can't trust those in authority and he did have authority, who can we trust? If you are close to Mr Barrett or related I am sorry for your loss. Please remember public scorn, outrage, and punishment is needed, for without it ANYTHING GOES, and when anything goes it never ends well. Time to end, sounding like a Direct TV ad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2ZYIdmdx14
jodie mayer April 06, 2012 at 01:49 AM
So Skippy at least I don't hide behind a fictional name. If u have something to say, man up, grow a pair and say it!! Clearly by reading ur posts, I have a much higher level of education and u might want to get off the couch and head back to the class room!! I as well have family members at BLHS and can appreciate the devastation everybody is going through! Have u ever heard "innocent until proven guilty"? Did u ever think people are only telling u what they want u to hear? Like that has never happened? Sounds like Skippy has had exstensive criminal experience?? I am intelligent enough to know not to believe everything I hear and read, especially whe it is one sided! I would never go spouting off on social media without knowing the facts! And nobody knows the facts, not even you SKIPPY!! Only Coach Barrett and GOD truly know!! Until u can show everybody all this site the hard core facts with undisputed proof shut your pie hole!!
jodie mayer April 06, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Ohhh by the way thanks for the lesson Skippy!! What I learned today, is there are more complete idiots in the world than I thought.
Julie Kilstrom April 06, 2012 at 02:31 AM
Amen, Ms. Mayer!! Skippy sure is brave to speak so boldy behind such a ridiculous name! The media spin on everything rarely has all the real facts. Sorry "Skippy"!
J P Patches April 06, 2012 at 04:34 AM
The story above isn't completely true. The fact is he is a hack coach that couldn't even get a team with an allstar roster to the playoffs in an easy division. Now we find out he is a criminal. Is this Jonestown all over again. People stop drinking the koolaid.
Julie April 06, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Jodie, before you go spouting off about how much more highly educated you are than Skippy, maybe you should go back and read your post again and proofread. Grown ups on a news site don't normally use abbreviations commonly found in a text message and your overuse of exclamation points make you sound like a raging lunatic. All of Skippy's posts are well written. His opinion may differ than yours but that doesn't necessarily mean he's wrong and uneducated. I don't know if Coach Barrett took the money or not. But, by resigning, he sure looks like he did.
Skippy April 06, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Jodie I concede, you obviously have a much superior education than I. With a mere H.S. Diploma I barely make it by in my written communication, please do forgive me. Your brilliant argumentum ad hominum comment is very impressive indeed, all while being remarkably devoid of cogent and substantive rebuttal. Your stalid, way cool reverence to an apparent fine cretin a total WIN! Please keep digging that hole sweetheart as it's quite amusing, you're halfway to China where anonymity and freedom of speech truly are a rarity. If you get thirsty on your dig, remember as another adult on here commented, you have plenty of Koolaid to power you through. ;) Ο εκσπλαγχνισμός πλήρης
dadX2 April 07, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I feel bad for the kids - they entrusted this coach to led them, teach them, and be a role model. These kids stood up for this coach, wearing shirts in support of him, appearing at the school board meetings, organizing a sit in. Then there are all the kids who will be impacted by the loss of up to 20K in ASB funds. Perhaps instead of all the name calling we can stop and remember the kids in all of this.
Big Dawg April 09, 2012 at 05:44 AM
Being as close to this situation as possible. I think many if not all have failed to look at some of the circumstances behind the scenes. The Sumner school district director or HR and a high level administrator at Bonney lake High school may have had it out for Barrett. There has been zero accountability from the district office on how the students of BLHS are treated. Students from the school reference to being treated like criminals in a jail. I personally don' t believe Chad Barrett stole a dime from with program. I do however believe he was forcefully encouraged by the lead school administrator to provide spirit wear to many of the faculty and administration in the school. Remember things don't always appear as they seem!
Skippy April 09, 2012 at 07:05 AM
Say Big Dawg that's a unique perspective, one we have yet to read here. I have a little problem with though, perhaps you can help me understand a bit. I myself or my family that attends BLHS aren't big into sports so I can only assume "spirit wear" is something like T-shirts, coffee mugs, ball caps, pennants, buttons, maybe bumper sticker right? I can only assume it's an expensed item. Now the article claims that a very substantial amount of change in the amount of $17k is unaccounted for. Coach says “He acknowledged his actions had no legitimate, professional purpose.” So we are to assume that he was pressured by administration to buy $17k worth or spirit wear that the admin and faculty used up, then gets accused of EMBEZZLEMENT which is a felony that one can do hard time for, and then not mention it as the reason for the missing funds? Let me say as well $17k of "spirit-wear" could very well fill a 20ft cargo container half full no? Wow, the veil has been lifted, I now think this man is totally innocent and truly didn't steal a dime.
Sharon Hodgins April 09, 2012 at 01:15 PM
As a former high school teacher in another district, we too had some embezzlement of student body funds, which apparently went on for years, and the person in charge at the office was accused, but the case was dropped for lack of being able to prove it, as too many people had been in charge of the funds for the years it was thought that this person may have embezzeled the money. In the case of a football fundraiser, I know we purchased something last fall from the football team at Bonney Lake, but we gave them cash when they came to the door. It seems to me that more stringent rules should be in place for a fundraiser, especially a large one like this, and that all up and down the line, the people in charge of the money should be held accountable during the time the fundraiser is going on. I don't understand why there there are not better oversight procedures in place, and I hope they are being put in place. Meanwhile, I will continue to give to such fundraisers, hoping the money does go to help programs. Whether the coach was involved or not, the buck apparently does stop at his door.
Mickey Kohlman April 09, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Clearly, this is another mess for our District to clean up. I think we need to be concerned about the kids and how all of this effects all the kids at BLHS. I have two boys that go the that high school. It not only effects the football team but every ASB person. I also know of other things that are going on at the schools and yes, I have talk to Ann Cook and many others about them. Stealing takes many form, using a building and not paying for it, Knowing someone is using the building and not holding them accountable, using equipment, and yes, using money that is not yours. I am very sorry that this is borthering all the kids. My two talked to me on several occasions about this situation.

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