Bus driver must pay fines, go to jail

Former Mount Pleasant School District employee pleaded guilty to theft in July

A former Mount Pleasant School District employee was sentenced in Camas-Washougal Municipal Court Thursday.

It brought a conclusion to the drama that has surrounded the small rural school since it first came to light in October that its bus driver had stolen gasoline by using the district credit card for her personal vehicle.

Judge Darvin Zimmerman sentenced former bus driver Cheryl Randall to one day in jail, 4 days of community service and put her on probation for two years. In addition, she must reimburse the school district $1,020.67 in stolen gasoline, pay $5,400 for the cost of the state audit to investigate the matter, and pay more than $500 in court fees and fines.

Randall broke down in tears during the sentencing, telling Zimmerman she’d been “wrongly convicted.”

When the judge reminded her she’d pleaded guilty to theft just five weeks prior, Randall replied, “I didn’t plead guilty to that [amount taken]. I didn’t do it.”

“Unless you’re keeping track and writing it down, how would you know?” Zimmerman asked her.

Randall replied that she kept receipts of her personal fuel purchases.

“I gave the receipts to the superintendent and was going to make payments [when the theft was discovered]. The school never gave me a car to drive. I used my car for everything.”

However, a state audit shows that Randall had been reimbursed mileage on more than one occasion, including $747 to attend classes in Ocean Shores and Auburn, Wash.

“I’ve been wrongly convicted,” Randall said. “They owe me.”

“You were convicted because of what you did,” Zimmerman said.

In response, Randall lowered her head down, and kept repeating, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Randall admitted in October to using a district credit card to purchase gasoline for her personal vehicle at Hi-Way Fuel in Washougal on numerous occasions between October 2010 and 2011.

She served as the district’s bus driver, recess aide, cafeteria and custodial supervisor, and she oversaw building maintenance.

Randall resigned from the district in late May after being charged with theft.

The state audit revealed the discrepancies in fuel purchases and use went back to 2008. In addition to fuel purchases, the audit reviewed Randall’s timecards, reimbursements and credit card purchases for the district.

Superintendent Linda Slattery, who first discovered the discrepancy, resigned last month after saying she’d been intimated and harassed by two board members after doing what was required by law and reporting the theft. Her last day is Aug. 17.

She could not be reached by press time.