Lincoln High School accused of misusing student body funds

San Diego Unified audit details allegations

SAN DIEGO - Lincoln High School is known for some of the best basketball players in the state, but 10News has obtained an audit which shows the team's varsity basketball coach sold free athletic equipment to students considered to be some of the poorest in the county.

The latest audit by the San Diego Unified School District board found several cases of coaches or school leaders at Lincoln High illegally using thousands of dollars of student body money. 

"These actions are criminal," said Sally Smith, the chairperson of Lincoln High School's Site Council which oversees Title I money. "They were stealing money from the students."

Among the allegations in the audit was almost $5,000 spent on basketball championship rings for several coaches and former executive principal Mel Collins, who retired last year. The audit said Collins approved the purchase.

The audit also found that basketball coach Jason Bryant, who was named coach of the year, received ten free pairs of Nike sneakers from Nike. The report said Bryant sold several pairs of them to junior varsity basketball players.

"That's not acceptable," said Smith. "He sold these tennis shoes to students that come from poor families. It's disturbing because this is one of the schools with the highest poverty levels in the entire district."

The district was only able to trace one $50 check written by a parent. There is no accounting for the rest of the money collected for the shoes. 10News went to Bryant's home to talk to him about the audit, but he said he did not want to comment.

Smith says someone needs to be held accountable.

"This is money that students have worked for," she said. "Dollar by dollar, they collected this money thinking it would be used for the student body. Instead, it's been taken by the adults for championship rings."

Auditors are recommending that Bryant reimburse the student body fund more than $2,300. It also wants the school to get its act together and keep better records.

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