North Stonington - The town and school system reached a settlement Monday night with former Superintendent Natalie Pukas after she agreed to pay the town $18,491.09 to cover expenditures she allegedly billed to her school district credit card.
Editor's note: This version clarifies an earlier version.
The boards of finance, education and selectmen met for an hour and a half in executive session with town attorneys Frank Eppinger and Eileen Duggan before voting to accept the agreement Pukas had earlier executed with her attorney. The $18,491.09 includes the $6,000 the town had spent on the audit of Pukas' finances during her tenure as superintendent.
Pukas retired in June after 38 years as a district employee and 12 years as superintendent amid accusations that she had misused a district credit card held in her name. Questions about her use of the card arose last November, and the Board of Education voted to request a forensic audit of the district's finances in May.
The boards released a joint press release following the meeting. Board of Finance Chairman Dan Spring had no comment on the agreement, but said copies of the audit will be available to the public at Town Hall this morning.
"None of the parties admit any wrongdoing in these matters, and the settlement represents a desire by all parties to move forward in the best interests of the Town, District and Dr. Pukas," the press release said.
In April, current school board Chairman Bob Testa said district Business Manager Chuck McCarthy discovered some of the discrepancies in expenditures, which a recent annual audit of the district's budget also found.
At the time, school board member Chris Hundt said the money was used by an individual as a way to supplement his or her income and that the individual was possibly "double dipping" by receiving money in the budget reserved for professional development and also submitting receipts for, and being reimbursed for, those same costs. The board at the time did not identify Pukas as the employee in question.