Bay School District Releases Report On Arnold Field Use

BAY COUNTY-- Bay County School Officials are releasing a formal statement regarding a 2 week internal investigation into missing money.

Earlier this month, we were the first to tell you about Arnold High School's Baseball Boosters' claims about missing rental fee for the use of a ball field.

Newschannel 7's Sanika Dange joins us in out studios with the latest. Sanika?

Bay District Schools opened an investigation into the use of Arnold's baseball diamond after parents expressed concerns that school officials had not accounted for the money Grand Slam Sports paid for using the field.

Grand Slam Sports has been renting the diamond at the Gavlak sports complex for up to 15 days each summer, over the last 6 years, at a price of 125 dollars a day.

That adds up to at least 6 thousand dollars, although school district officials say they can't verify an exact amount.

School policy dictates all schools must fill out a facility usage form for every transition of this type.

School officials confirm Thursday, no one at Arnold High School filled out those forms.

Instead, Larry Thompson Junior who runs Grand Slam Sports, says he paid cash to Arnold's former baseball coach, Mitch Kelley, for the use of the field.

Kelley resigned two months ago.

The school district says Kelley received those funds for "services rendered."

In the investigation report, school district officials admit Kelley and Arnold administrators did not follow policies and procedures for handling money on a variety of levels.

It goes on to say the coach has an expectation of being paid for services provided, but that's a decision typically left to the discretion, and funds of the booster club during the summer.

"Any funds that exchange should be written to the school or the booster club of that association of a school and then if any disbursement, IF any disbursement were to occur, it will be funneled back," said Dr. John Haley, Operational Services Executive Director.

Next Tuesday, the school board will approve a policy change that will strengthen booster club rules.

"It reflects the fact that we already knew that it wasn't as clear as it could have been. We've already had concerns about this previously so we're going forward always trying to make things better and improve them," said Sharon Michalik, Human Resources Executive Director.

The district says it will not investigate this matter further.

But Arnold Boosters tell us that's not good enough.

They sent us this statement saying .."The AHS Baseball Boosters have just received a copy of the Bay District School's internal investigation report form Sharon Michalik. We are currently communicating with Sharon Michalik reference report inaccuracies providing her with additional information into this ongoing investigation."

Sanika Dange, Newschannel 7.

Most of the people involved in this case, have declined to comment.

We are requesting records from other high schools to see if they followed proper procedures when renting their facilities.

We'll pass that along as soon as we get more information.