State Auditor finds administrator used school money for personal expenses

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Office of the State Auditor has released its findings in a review of an Albuquerque charter school administrator accused of altering documents to get reimbursed for personal expenses.

Dr. Analee Maestas is accused of doctoring a receipt to cover up using school money to pay for a cleaning job at her house. Maestas is the Executive Director of La Promesa Early Learning Center, a state charter school on Central near Old Coors Road.

According to the state auditor, the review found evidence that the receipt was altered and that Maestas was reimbursed for personal services.

Read State Auditor’s full review>>

“The timeline of events indicate that the Executive Director used school funds to pay for work completed at her home,” said State Auditor Tim Keller. “Efforts to use funds that belong in our classrooms for personal expenses, in any amount, raises serious concerns of public trust.”

Maestas did not respond to messages from KRQE News 13 on Tuesday. However, when the allegations originally surfaced, she denied any wrongdoing.

The auditor’s report has been sent to the District Attorney’s office for possible fraud and theft charges. The report has also been sent to the Public Education Department, which could strip Maestas of her licenses to teach and to run a school.

“I’m deeply saddened about it,” said Peggy Muller-Aragón, who serves on the APS Board alongside Dr. Maestas. “We’ll see what the court has to say. [The School Board] will have to talk about it. We have ethical standards we have to follow.”

Muller-Aragón said she wants to know how the community feels about it, wondering if the allegations will “erode confidence in the board.”

The State Auditor also pointed to concerns over a lack of oversight at the charter school, where he said the assistant business manager who reviewed the receipt is Maestas’ daughter.

PED said it’s auditing the rest of the school’s finances.

The charter school did an internal investigation and found nothing wrong.

Maestas was allowed to pay the money back, without admitting guilt.

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