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Outside investigation conducted into possible mishandling of funds at Morro Bay High School

Posted at 11:24 PM, Mar 04, 2021

The results of an outside investigation into the possible mishandling of funds at Morro Bay High School has led to the resignation of a teacher and the reassignment of the school’s principal.

The investigation was handled by an independent firm hired by the San Luis Coastal Unified School District.

The investigation was prompted by allegations that automotive technology teacher James Bueno mishandled donations of vehicles and revenue from auto sales.

Bueno began teaching the automotive technology class in 2015. He was originally hired by the school as a campus supervisor in 2010.

KSBY spoke with Bueno about the investigation. He says he has handled the money the same way for his entire tenure at the school. District administrators were aware of how the money was being collected and spent. The class operates as a club on campus.

The report issued by investigators found several violations of district policy and several instances of misuse of club funds, but Bueno says he has never been reprimanded or told to change the way he was handling the donations and auto sales at the school. Bueno told KSBY News that he and the district reached a settlement deal. He resigned from his position in November of 2020 and received a $48,000 severance package.

District officials say the principal, Kyle Pruitt, has been on paid administrative leave since December of 2020. He will return to his post this month but then be re-assigned to a teaching position beginning in July.