NATOMAS (CBS13) — A staff member is on administrative leave from Inderkum High School while Natomas Unified School District officials sort out what happened to $48,000 missing from a student fundraising account.

It was an independent audit that first caught the discrepancy in early March. District officials say at least $48,000 is missing with an additional $167,000 improperly stored in a school safe, instead of deposited into a bank account.

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“Immediately after learning of these irregularities from independent auditors we placed an employee on administrative leave,” said Jim Sanders, spokesman for Natomas Unified School District.

The district is not naming the staffer while they investigate if the money was stolen, or if there’s another explanation.

“This is a very serious issue. Safeguarding school funds is a public trust” Sanders said.

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The money thousand is missing from what’s known as the Associated Student Body account. It’s collected from various fundraisers and activities throughout the year such as football games and prom. The money goes to support travel and other expenses for student clubs and athletics.

“I feel like the money that the school does get from those should be invested wisely and not put in the hands of someone who’s going to misuse it,” said former student Matt Selmi.

It’s still early but school officials say this could potentially lead to a much larger and perhaps criminal investigation.

“What we want to do is continue our investigation and get that done so we can determine what happened, the extent of the problem, and how it happened. At that point if misconduct is found, number one, we will take any and all appropriate action, but will also release those findings to the police if that’s appropriate,” Sanders said.

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Sanders says the district will review its practice of collecting and handling funds. It will also repay the missing money so students aren’t affected while they complete the investigation, although he says it is not their obligation to do so. They are now going back years to see if even more money is unaccounted for.