Jupiter principal accused of milking state for money - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Jupiter principal accused of milking state for money

Reporter: Lindsay Cohen

A local principal in trouble and getting tough questions from upset parents. She's accused of lying, but she's also accused of asking her teachers to lie, too. So, she could get more money for the school.

We have the audit that explains it all. That audit, short, but it shows how the school accounted for 24 students who didn't really go there. The person being held responsible: The one supposed to be setting an example.

"If indeed it is true, I am very bothered at the fact that something like that would take place here," says parent Maureen Goodwin.

That place: Independence Middle School in Jupiter. That person: The school's principal, 55-year-old Gwendolyn Johnson.

Johnson was named in an audit Monday for inflating school attendance records to get more cash and resources for the middle school. "I believe in education; I believe we do need certain things second. But, I could never imagine going about it that way," states parent Ellen Alavi.

The way the audit says this was all accomplished, in part, by Johnson sending an e-mail to teachers telling them to grade students who never showed up. That meant the school's enrollment numbers also went up translating into more cash and an extra teacher for the school.

"It just makes me sad to think that we can't be honest, and we can't accomplish things with honesty and truth," Alavi continues.

Goodwin states, "If, indeed, it did happen, I really am very interested in hearing her response to why it happened and what her reasons were behind doing so."

Attached to the audit is a letter from Johnson agreeing with the audit's findings. But also saying that corrective measures have already been put into place. A school district spokeswoman says Johnson remains at her position as principal.

We haven't been able to reach Johnson for a comment after office hours.

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