Principal Michael Greening was arraigned Friday afternoon on two felony embezzlement charges, each carrying a maximum five-year penalty and/or fines.
Greening appeared before 44th District Court Judge Terrence Brennan, who entered a plea of not guilty on Greening's behalf.
Greening was released on $50,000 personal recognizance with conditions, including that he not leave the state.
Greening appeared in court with his attorney, Paul Stablein of Royal Oak.
It has been more than three months since Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin sent a letter to the school's roughly 1,500 students and their families saying "due to the possibility of financial irregularities in student activities funds." Since that time, no new information has been made available from either the Royal Oak Police Department or the school district.
Greening has been with the school district as a teacher and administrator for about 15 years.
"I will be shocked if these charges stick," said Patrice Walsh, a longtime Royal Oak resident with two kids at Royal Oak High School. "I have never heard a bad word about Mike Greening. He is an upright guy and I am one of a huge group of Greening supporters who want this mess to be over so our high school and his family can get back on track."
Lewis-Lakin issued this statement on Friday afternoon:
Our commitment has been to a process that is complete, thorough, impartial, and fair.
The investigation initiated by the district at the end of December, the findings of a forensic audit, and the work of the Royal Oak Police Department and Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office are all aspects of such a process.
Mr. Greening was placed on a paid administrative leave at the beginning of this process, and continues on that paid leave today. At this time, no new determination has been made regarding his employment status. There are procedural requirements and standards for making determinations in the employment process for school personnel, which will guide us as we move forward.
A preliminary exam is set for April 27 in 44th District Court.