September 5, 2018 3:16 pm

Former Pembina Hills Public Schools superintendent accused of stealing $18K

File photo of Colleen Symyrozum-Watt.

Credit: Google+

A former Alberta school division superintendent has been charged with fraud, a year after she was fired for just cause amid allegations of bullying, harassment and breach of contract.

It’s alleged that Colleen Symyrozum-Watt submitted fraudulent claims to the board of Pembina Hills Public Schools, in excess of $18,000 between November 2014 and January 2017.

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The charges come after complaints were first made to the school board under the Whistleblower Protection Act in January 2017.

Pembina Hills Public Schools terminated Symyrozum-Watt’s contract in July 2017, on the heels of a legal investigation that alleged breaches related to per diems, expenses, vacation days and nepotism; as well as harassing behaviour, misrepresented information and dishonest responses from the former superintendent during the investigation.

RCMP began investigating in September 2017. On June 25 of this year, Symyrozum-Watt was arrested and charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000 and two counts of fraud under $5,000.

The 55-year-old woman from Busby, Alta. — who is also charged with criminal breach of trust — was released and will appear in court in Barrhead next Tuesday.

Pembina Hills Public Schools provides public education to the north-central Alberta communities of Westlock, Barrhead and Swan Hills and surrounding areas.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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