PLYMOUTH, Conn. (WTNH) — Just a few days into the school year and the Plymouth Schools Superintendent has already resigned. It’s no surprise. Last month Eleanor Cruz was arrested on charges of embezzling at her old job as Hebron’s Superintendent.
“I wish they’d look further into her background,” said Plymouth resident Earl Affhauser. “But I guess nobody knew about it until it was too late.”
No they did not, and at a packed Plymouth Board of Education meeting last month, they reacted to the charges and the audit Hebron Schools did that found Cruz embezzled thousands of dollars, spending it on clothes and internet shopping. The Plymouth Board told Cruz, don’t bother coming to work. However, she was still under contract. That complicated the effort to oust Cruz.
“…in order to protect the school district, it is important that the Board comply with all legal requirements concerning the Superintendent’s employment…” wrote Board of Education Chair Raymond Engle in a statement on the district website.
Then Thursday night the Board announced it had reached an agreement to buy Cruz out. The deal between the Board of Education and Cruz is sealed for the next week, so we don’t know any details, but we do know one thing – they are paying Cruz $70,000 to resign. $70,000 seems like a lot of money to pay somebody to just go away, but folks in town say not really, when you consider she stood to make more than twice that in annual salary.
“We give her $70,000, she ends up getting prosecuted in the long run anyway,” said Plymouth resident Deboarh Burn. “But we couldn’t just fire her because if we fired her and she didn’t do anything wrong, then we, the city, would be liable, so it’s the smartest thing we could ever do.”
“We could have battled it in court, and who would have gotten rich were the lawyers,” said Plymouth resident Melanie Church. “Let her go, now we have to build up the schools.”
The task of building up the schools now falls to the interim Superintendent, a man who’s done that job for a bunch of school districts named Mark Winzler. He starts on September 15th.
Cruz is scheduled to be back in court on Sept. 12.