ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE)- The FBI has raided an Albuquerque school just months after the state started peering into the school’s finances.
KRQE News 13 learned federal agents were there because of allegations that someone may have been taking money that was meant for the classroom at the Southwest Secondary Learning Center on Candelaria, near Morris in northwest Albuquerque.
The federal probe comes on the heels of an investigation by New Mexico’s Office of the State Auditor into the school district, that includes the learning center.
The state started looking into the school district in 2013 after citizen complaints surfaced. State Auditor Hector Balderas said there were enough red flags in January 2014 for his office to call for an expedited audit.
Balderas said after months of peering into the finances of the Albuquerque charter schools, Southwest Learning Center in the heights and SAMS Academy out at Double Eagle Airport, it was evident the FBI needed to take a look too.
“We only work with law enforcement when we’ve confirmed that the risks are legitimate and certainly in this instance we thought it was appropriate for us to refer key information,” Balderas said.”During our review we have identified certain risks that we thought we appropriate to refer to the FBI.”
The state auditor wouldn’t give specifics. However, sources told News 13 the federal investigation surrounds fraud and embezzlement allegations involving state and federal dollars.
The Southwest Learning Center is made up of three schools for different age groups all under one roof. Because school officials call them separate schools it qualifies for an extra $850,000 from the state in small school funding.
The sources said there are allegations that the education funding wasn’t used in the classroom.
There was no mention as to who may have benefited. But, there have been questions raised about the head administrator Scott Glasrud’s salary and extra pay.
Glasrud runs the schools, overseeing about 800 students with a salary of $210,000. He makes more money on top of that by doing business with his own schools.
The planes SAMS, an aviation school, uses are from his company.
“So Diamond Aviation is the company we lease the airplanes from, which in full disclosure is a company that I own,” Glasrud said in March 2014.
In March, the Public Education Department said it was not aware of the Glasrud doing anything illegal, but in the past they have raised questions about how the schools qualify for state funding and spend it.
News 13 reached out to Southwest Secondary Learning Center and Scott Glasrud. Neither have returned our calls for comment.