Monday, January 10, 2011

Alleged Embezzlement At Disney School

With Uptown's schools in such desperate financial straits, this is the kind of story we hate to see:

Teacher at Disney Magnet accused of taking $100,000


  1. I found the bit about $75/week tuition fees to be peculiar.

    Is there anyone who could expound on those fees? For instance, are they fees for pre-school/kindergarten or fees that all parents pay?

    It just seems odd that a public school would be charging weekly tuition for anything 1st grade or higher.

  2. Hard to believe teachers that are overpaid still have to steal funds from the school system. Why would the parents of these kids not ask why they must pay fees on their childs free public school education.

  3. overpaid?

    i'm not a teacher but i don't think they are overpaid.

  4. The tuition is probably for an extracurricular activity (maybe an afterschool program). School at Disney is free, with the exception of some small school fees for books or whatever and a tuition-based preschool program that provides a full day of care. That costs more than $75 a week, though.

  5. Quotes from the alleged ‘borrower’, Mark Gruntzel-

    The Walt Disney Magnet School's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in Chicago is not only setting an example of giving, it gets students involved in the process.

    "We are trying to teach our kids to give back," said Mark Gruntzel, president of the PTA and community resource director for the Walt Disney Magnet School, a Chicago City public school. "We have been so fortunate here at the school and now we want to teach them how to turn that around to help others."

    A great example is the Holiday Tree program through which students learn first-hand about giving. Classrooms work together to decorate holiday trees, which are then donated to families who can't afford a tree. Gruntzel said students' eyes are often opened by this activity. "It is hard for students to understand that some people don't have a tree or get presents for Christmas," he explained.

    Hell, with 100k the students could have decorated a forest.

  6. My son attends Disney. The $75 is the weekly cost of the after school program, where students stay until 6pm. This is a convenient option for working parents... it's a shame to hear this news.

  7. I am not surprised. I recently transferred one of my kids out of Disney to Goudy after 8 years. Most outsiders thought Disney has a huge campus and and a national brand name. But the fact is that the administration is a total mess. Ms. Hagstrom, the principal, must go! I think Mr Gunzel is just a scape goat. Someone higher up must be involved.

  8. Teachers are not overpaid, people who say things like that typically have no idea what is involved with the job they do, or don't have kids. But it is sad when someone who chooses a job where trust and caring for others is important is found to do something like this. It just makes it harder for the rest of the people doing the job well. I wonder why he was able to steal so much money without anyone else knowing about it? The principal and the LSC are supposed to be regularly reviewing all the funds for the school building. Would love to hear from the principal why this was such a surprise, and why he was able to get away with it for two years.