SPRINGFIELD TWP. One legal case involiving thefts of funds associated with Springfield Local Schools is about to wrap up, while another one is getting started.
On July 13, Springfield High School teacher and boys bowling coach William Burket was charged in Stark County Common Pleas Court with one count of grand theft, a count of forgery and a count of tampering with evidence, all fourth-degree felonies, for the alleged theft of about $14,000 in teachers' union funds. Burket was booked into the Stark County Jail and released on his own recognizance.
In November, it was discovered by the Springfield Local Association of Classroom Teachers (SLACT) that thousands of dollars were missing from its account. Burket was the union's treasurer. An investigation then revealed that union money had been diverted to a private account going back to September 2016.
According to minutes from the November 16 SLACT meeting, Burket addmitted to stealing the funds and apologized for it.
"Mr. Burket read a prepared statement and apologized for taking money from the account. He estimated the amount to be around $14,000. He plans to make whole the money within one month’s time," the minutes stated.
Burket was placed on paid administrative leave in December and remains there, according to Springfield Local Superintendent Chuck Sincere.
The bank transactions of the alleged thefts occurred in Canal Fulton, where Burket lives. Canal Fulton Police handled the investigation.
Booster Club case
In a seperate case, former Spartan Booster Club Treasurer Mia Balazovich recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $30,000 from the club.
On June 27, she pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony for stealing the money between Sept. 1, 2014 and May 9, 2016. As part of a plea deal, documents show Balazovich is ordered to pay $30,812.67 in restitution.
She will face sentencing on Aug. 8, according to court documents.
Balazovich was charged with the thefts in September following Springfield Police investigation into a report of financial discrepencies in the club's account.
Sincere said the Booster Club has put "safeguards" in place to keep theft from happening in the future.