Oceanside principal accused of stealing $50K from parent-teacher group - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Oceanside principal accused of stealing $50K from parent-teacher group

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An elementary school principal accused of stealing nearly $50,000 from the Oceanside Unified School District and the local PTA over a four-year period pleaded not guilty today to 10 felony charges, including grand theft.

Paulette Dastrup Thompson, 59, has been on leave from her job at Reynolds Elementary School since February, school officials said.

The defendant was charged Aug. 28 with nine counts of grand theft and one count of using the personal identifying information of another.

At her arraignment today, Judge David Szumowski agreed to allow Thompson to remain out of custody on her own recognizance.

The criminal complaint alleges that Thompson took money from the school district and the parent-teacher organization while she was principal at San Luis Rey Elementary and Reynolds Elementary from 2005 to last October.

Thompson's attorney declined comment after the arraignment.

A spokesman for the school district, Steve Lombard, said officials started an investigation earlier this year after hearing concerns about Thompson and PTO funds.

The district's information was turned over to police, who presented the case to the District Attorney's Office. 

The defendant faces a sentence from probation to nine years in state prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Robert Eichler said outside court.

The judge set a readiness conference for Nov. 3 and a preliminary hearing for Dec. 1.

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