Leavitt Middle School band members are hoping to play in New York next year, but that goal may be a little harder to reach after their teacher was arrested.
Clark County School District Police say Justin Klarer stole money students had paid towards the planned trip.
Klarer was a popular band director at Arbor View High School before being transferred to the middle school for the start of the current semester. Arbor View band students even held a rally when they learned of the transfer last May.
Detectives say the Leavitt Middle School’s principal initially reported $1,208 missing in early October. Days later, officers say Klarer brought in $850.
At that time the principal said he told Klarer not to collect any more money, telling him to leave the task up to the band’s aide.
A week later, school district police say the principal called again to report that Klarer had collected $500 from a student that was never turned in.
The next day Klarer came to CCSD Police headquarters for an interview. Officers say he told them he knew he was being questioned “about some missing money.”
When asked about the missing $500, Klarer reportedly responded, “I know this sounds ridiculous, but I forgot. It’s at home and I know I should have turned it in.”
When pressed further, detectives say Klarer told them “all but $50” of the $500 was at his home.
Later when asked again how much of the money would be at his home if they went to get it: he replied "none of it.” At that point police say Klarer admitted to having money troubles.
Under further questioning detectives say Klarer admitted to having a gambling problem.
“He stated he gambles at Santa Fe Station daily. Klarer admitted to using the money to gamble and pay bills,” the report said.
Klarer was booked on charges of theft of more than $650 with consideration of the charge of embezzlement. The report went on to say CCSD is in the process of an audit to determine the amount taken or misappropriated.
The district says after the arrest, Klarer submitted his resignation and is no longer an employee.