By Judy Reed
Tri County Middle School principal William Robert Cichewicz was arrested last week on embezzlement charges.
According to the Michigan State Police Lakeview Post, they began an investigation in February on money missing from the Booster Club Fund. Cichewicz turned himself in on June 20, and was arraigned on a five-year felony charge of embezzlement of over $1,000 but under $20,000.
Cichewicz, an employee at Tri County Schools for 13 years, was initially put on administrative leave, and then fired last week.
“As a school community, we are committed to excellence in all that we do,” stated Al Cumings, Superintendent. “This commitment means that we hold our students, staff, and, most of all, our leadership accountable for behaviors and choices that do not reflect our community values.”
Cumings noted that Cichewicz accepted the termination and had made full restitution. “I am pleased that in addition to owning his decisions and paying back the missing funds, Mr. Cichewicz also has released a public letter of apology to the community that is on the district web site (www.tricountyschools.com),” said Cumings. You can also view it here.
In his letter, Cichewicz acknowledged that he had made serious mistakes and violated the community’s trust over the last year. “In my role as principal, I had access to booster funds that were acquired from the school store. Over a period of months, as I collected and took those funds to the bank, I was tempted by the money that was available and I began to take some each time. Ultimately, I took $1,350 of booster money to benefit myself,” he wrote. He added that his family knew nothing about what he was doing, and that he planned to return the funds immediately. He also said he felt horrible about what he did.
Cichewicz served as a teacher, vice-principal, and principal while employed at Tri County.
He posted a $2,000 bond and has a pretrial date of July 2 and a preliminary exam on July 3.