Toronto public school board catches $88,500 fraud without a huge scandal

Toronto public school board catches $88,500 fraud without a huge scandal

Terry Baytor (Image: Facebook)

A we-assume-formerly respected principal, teacher and baseball coach from Martingrove Collegiate in Etobicoke has been charged with theft and fraud. Terry Baytor, whose mustachioed mug has since moved from the public board to a cushy private school gig, apparently pocketed $72,000 from an account that was supposed to be for student fundraising. Of that, he paid himself $16,000.

According to the Toronto Star:

The 58-year-old Brampton resident was principal of Martingrove from September 2002 until he retired in December 2009. He is currently principal of Everest Academy, a private school in Thornhill.

An Everest spokeswoman reached Monday evening said they are “shocked.”

“The founder of this school . . . went out and got the best principal that he could possibly get,” the spokeswoman said. “We’re absolutely shocked right now.”

A man who spoke from behind a closed door at Baytor’s Brampton home declined to comment.

How could something like this happen? A board lawyer tells the National Post, “We trust senior officials to follow the rules, and it’s very much an honour system,” which totally makes everyone feel better about all this.

Letting anyone manage tens of thousands of dollars in cash on the honour system is probably a pretty bad idea, but at least the TDSB noticed the fraud, investigated and turned the matter over to the police with some efficiency. The incident is in stark contrast to the situation at Toronto’s Catholic schools, where conflicts of interest and dubious spending by board members continue to cast a pall over the separate school board.

So while we can cheer some relatively speedy work by the public board, could somebody maybe figure out a better method for managing that money than the honour system? We’d like to go back to buying fundraiser chocolate bars in peace.

• Principal charged with stealing student funds [Toronto Star]
• Former principal charged with stealing $90K from school [National Post]
• Principal charged in theft of nearly $90,000 from student funds [Globe and Mail]
• High school principal allegedly steals $88,500 from students [Digital Journal]
• Principal stole thousands from students: police [CBC News]
• Former Martingrove principal charged with theft, fraud [CBC News]