High School Coach Investigated Over Use of Funds

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The Bismarck Tribune


HASTINGS, Minn. — An assistant principal who also serves as the head wrestling coach in Hastings is being investigated for allegedly using raised or donated funds to attend out-of-state college football games over a period of years.

The Hastings School Board held a special session Nov. 26 to discuss the alleged misappropriation of funds by Josh McLay.

McLay allegedly attended the games with group of people, some of which were school district employees, when his stated purpose was to attend wrestling and coaching clinics. The investigation alleges that over a seven-year span since 2011, McLay misappropriated approximately $11,000-$12,000 in Fund 11 funds.

On Monday during the closed session, the school board considered options regarding McLay's employment, including an agreement put forward by McLay and his attorney which consisted of five stipulations. Those included resigning from both positions, serving a 10-day suspension this school year and being placed into a teaching position in the district for the 2019-2020 school year.

The school board voted unanimously to accept McLay's and his attorney's agreement and it was signed-off on by all parties involved.

The investigation was triggered Oct. 8. It alleges that in 2011, McLay was going to a wrestling clinic in Nebraska when he asked if he could buy his coaches (a group of 8-10) tickets to a Nebraska football game, to which the district said no as Fund 11 funds cannot be used for entertainment. They then determined that in this instance, and others over the course of seven years, that no clinics actually took place.

The school board determined on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving that the investigation had found everything it was going to in regards to McLay's employment situation and scheduled Monday's special session. School board chairman Lisa Hedin said that in between the announcing of the special session and Monday, ""I would estimate that each board member probably received 50-ish emails attesting to Mr. McLay's character."

McLay declined to comment on the investigation but had addressed the matter with his team. McLay will be coaching Saturday as the wrestling team opens its season.

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December 5, 2018


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