Former Secretary Charged with Stealing Money from School

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NANTICOKE -- What would you do if you learned the money you're giving your kids for lunch at school is going into the pockets of one of the school's secretaries? Police believe that's what happened in the Greater Nanticoke Area School District.

As kids head home from school in Nanticoke, their parents are learning about a big financial blow to the district. After months of investigating, police arrested former secretary Jacqueline Ruchinski, accusing her of stealing more than $19,000 from the district.

It's a theft parents like Stacey LeRoy don't take lightly.

"I think it's a shame because this is a small district and there's not a lot of funding with the economy and the cuts," said LeRoy.

LeRoy's son, Brandon, is in eighth grade, and she used to see Ruchinski regularly when taking him in and out of school for doctors appointments. She sais she's surprised and disappointed by the news.

"Just greedy, just good old-fashioned greed," said LeRoy.

Ruchinski worked in the district for about 20 years as a secretary. According to court papers, some of her duties included managing food programs and cafeteria money. That's where co-workers started to notice missing deposits.

According to court documents, Ruchinski no longer works in the district because of the investigation, but people who live in the area say they'd like to see a harsher punishment.

"We all work hard for our money, for our children to go to school. I'd put her in jail. Fire her and put her in jail," said Ritchie Zatorski, of Nanticoke.

"Would you like to see her pay back the money?" Newswatch 16 asked another parent from Nanticoke. Their response was, "Yes, I think that would be the fair thing to do because I think the school really needs it."

Ruchinski faces six counts of theft, one for each school year when police said she stole the more than $19,000. She was released after her court appearance today without bail.