New Information Regarding Charges Against Former Mid Valley Superintendent

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SCRANTON -- The former superintendent in the Mid Valley School District in Lackawanna County was formally charged with theft and forgery.

Court papers were released Wednesday, two days after the state attorney general's office filed the charges against Jim Tallarico.

Back in February, Tallarico of Dunmore resigned abruptly from his post as Mid Valley superintendent and there has been a lot of speculation since then in the district that encompasses Throop, Olyphant, and Dickson City.

Wednesday we learned the details of the accusations. Prosecutors said he put a lot effort into stealing district money and tried to cover it up by moving around funds and intimidating employees.

Tallarico answered to criminal charges filed by the state attorney general's office. He was arraigned at the courthouse in Scranton Wednesday on 22 separate counts, charges including theft, forgery, and official oppression.

"He left very abruptly so I assumed something was wrong. I didn't know if it was personal reasons or if there was something going on within the school district. So I wasn't shocked to hear the news," said Colleen Tarantino of Olyphant.

Tarantino was stocking up the concession stand at Condella Park in Olyphant getting ready for fall sports.

Court paperwork accuses Tallarico of taking money from the school's athletic and varsity funds, saying he would purchase things for sports teams but never did. He's also accused of stealing cash that students raised with a dress down day.

"That money is geared toward maybe a family who is having some kind of a hardship or it's geared toward just giving it to a charitable cause," said Mid Valley School Board President Gerald Luchansky.

Luchansky told Newswatch 16 Tallarico was ultimately caught when business office employees noticed money being moved from one account to another.  Tallarico resigned about two weeks after that discovery.

"As a district we're continually maximizing every dollar that we have, we're stretching every dollar that we have. It was very unfair what he had done," Luchansky added.

According to court papers, Tallarico used a district credit card for personal use several times.  Among the most shocking allegations, Tallarico told the district he was going to an autism conference in New Jersey but actually used district money to take his family to a Penn State football game.

Mid Valley district officials told Newswatch 16 they might consider changing the rules for how administrators use credit cards. Prosecutors said Tallarico took almost $12,000 from the district. Some of it has been paid back.

In total, Mid Valley is out about $7,500.

Tallarico was arraigned on those charges Wednesday morning and released on bail.

15 comments

  • Acct Alum

    They call it separation of duties for a reason and that it why are are in place. After accounts are reconciled at the end of the week/month it’s easy to see when funds are misused. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure these things out. The school board approves most activities from what I unserstand, and then there are audiors who review the books for the AFR. They are not lying when they say they stretched every dollar, MV finished the year off with a negative general fund balance. Every transaction is looked at 10x closer in these cases. I hope he gets a large sentence to set a presedence. He’s clearly an idiot…

  • MV parent

    I wonder if he had anything to do with the money missing from the PTA account. I believe it was thousands of dollars. The money was supposed to be for annual class field trips.

  • MICKEY MOUSE

    ANOTHER MODERN DAY ROBIN HOOD. STEAL FROM THE KIDS AND GIVE THE HOME OWNERS ANOTHER SCHOOL TAX HIKE. BUT REMEMBER, CRIMINALS HAVE RIGHTS :)

  • Mo Con

    He had many fooled. I think the business office staff should be commended for stepping up and saying something because we all know they didn’t at Montrose! What a dirtbag!

  • joe

    Read the Scr times.
    his lawyer has put a sob story spin on all of this already.
    BTW,who is paying for his high priced lawyer?
    he’s not court appointed

    • Kathryn Annunziata

      Whoever u r u r out of line sir. How can u drag his whole family into this? His family were well respected on the area. He had wonderful hard working parents. What an awful remark to make

  • Josh

    When they’re done with him they should investigate the biggest open secret in northeastern Pennsylvania…..how teachers must pay to get a job in local school districts.

  • BZ22

    Not defending him at all but those 22 counts contain several charges for the same offenses. They will get negotiated down to a couple, he’ll get a slap on the wrist and probably end up being more drama than newsworthy.

    • Just Bob!

      How true. Superintendents are a member of a special club. He will be a superintendent at another PA district in about a year. Five or so years ago a Super from Bellefonte was caught driving drunk. His “sentence” was home arrest for maybe 90 days. Now he’s a superintendent at another school district. Making almost the exact same $125,000 he was at Bellefonte. At the end of the day they’ll all get together, give each other a big slap on the back, laugh and say “ooooh boy that was a good one!”

      • BZ22

        He just wasn’t as good at working the system as these others were. Their conventions and conferences conveniently coincide with another event or place they want to attend and we pay for it. It’s amazing what these schools will cover up and write a glowing recommendation to pass the problem on to someone else! It’s not just collecting the salary but that retirement benefits and pension as well. We’d never get to keep ours but they’ll smile all the way to the bank on theirs!

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