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Green Bay School District: Principal fired for theft of funds

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Green Bay Area Public School District officials holding a press conference discussing the firing of Nicolet Elementary School principal Melisa Ellingson on Nov. 22, 2013. (Photo by: WTAQ Reporter Jeff Flynt)
Green Bay Area Public School District officials holding a press conference discussing the firing of Nicolet Elementary School principal Melisa Ellingson on Nov. 22, 2013. (Photo by: WTAQ Reporter Jeff Flynt)

GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - New details were revealed on Friday into the mysterious firing of a Green Bay elementary school principal.

At a press conference, Green Bay Area Public School District officials say former Nicolet Elementary principal Melisa Ellingson was fired October 16th for stealing staff-generated funds for personal use.

"Approximately $1,500 generated from funds from the staff soda machine, staff donations for the sunshine account, and proceeds from the sale of popcorn," said Green Bay Area Public School Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld. "It was because of the current checks and balances that we were able to place this misappropriation and it came to our light."

District officials say the funds have been recovered and returned to the district. That, along with consultation with the Green Bay Police Department, is the reason criminal charges were not pursued against Ellingson.

According to the district's legal counsel, Melissa Thiel Collar, officials were unable to share this information earlier due to compliance with state privacy law.

Documents provided to the media detail the case made for Ellingson's termination, along with the questionable purchases she made. They include multiple cash withdrawals from the "Sunshine Account", a $192.09 purchase at a Fond du Lac Walmart on August 15 and a $236.21 purchase from Pier One Imports on September 14. 

The district says Ellingson admitted to opening a debit card on the Nicolet "Sunshine Account".

Also detailed is lying about failing to attend a three-day seminar in Rice Lake this past June. Ellingson apparently attended for a morning session on June 26, but told school officials, "She was hit by a drunk driver in a Walmart parking lot." It turned out Ellingson was cited for a retail theft violation at that Rice Lake Walmart.

District officials say if other allegations against Ellingson come to light, they will investigate them and could press charges at that time.

Phone calls and letters did go out to Nicolet Elementary School parents on Friday.

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