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