Former Teacher Union President Charged

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EXETER -- The former head of the Wyoming Area Education Association is charged with embezzling more than $30,000 from the union from 2006 to 2012.

Lisa Barrett, 48, of Shavertown is accused of taking the money for her own personal use. She retired from the school district and head of the union in March of 2013.

The union is still negotiating with school officials for a new contract. The teachers have been on strike in the district since September 3 and will return October 4.

"It's something that we were really surprised with. We really had no idea what was going on and at this point, she's resigned from the school district, she resigned from her position in the union, so we really have no comment on it," said current union president Melissa Dolman.

Barrett resigned in March of this year.

Officials with the district said they learned of the possible theft months ago.

"We were made aware of improprieties and we advised the people who brought it to our attention to take it to law enforcement which they obviously did and this matter largely involves the union, not the district," said district solicitor Jarret Ferentino.

Bob Trusavage went to the Wyoming Area High School Tuesday night to donate thousands of notebooks and pencils to students. He also had something to say in on the charge against the former union head.

"I think it's a sin and she probably got what she deserved. I think it's pretty shameful for a group to want so much and then you have something like that going on in the background," he said.

Despite the news, members of the union said they are not distracted from negotiating a new contract.

"I don't think it adds to our stress level. This is right now our major concern," said Dolman.

According to prosecutors, there is a plea agreement, but it must be approved by court.