A Bridgeport elementary school principal has been fired and arrested after stealing $10,000 from a school fundraising account and spending the money at casinos, according to a police.
Online court records show that Dunbar School principal Marilyn Taylor, 46, of Milford, was arrested last Friday and charged with first-degree larceny.
Police said Taylor was placed on administrative leave Nov. 10, about a year after allegedly pilfering money from the student-funded activity account.
Taylor spent the money at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, according to city communications director Brett Broesder.
City officials said they began investigating after a Board of Education audit found "irregularities" in the school fundraising account.
According to acting superintendent Fran Rabinowitz, Taylor will not be returning to work at the school on Union Avenue.
"She has been on paid administrative leave for over a month while this was investigated," Rabinowitz said in a statement Tuesday. "Assistant Principal Alyshia Perrin has been in the role of acting principal since then."
At the time of the theft, the troubled charter school management group Family Schools for Urban Excellence was running the Dunbar School.
Bridgeport terminated the partnership in July amid controversy surrounding CEO Michael Sharpe, who allegedly lied about his background and qualifications.
According to court records, Taylor was released on $20,000 bond and is due in court Jan. 2.
"We're working diligently to make sure justice is served," Broesder said in a statement Tuesday. "And, our top priority is to ensure that kids at Dunbar School – and kids in schools all across the city – are safe, secure, and learning in an environment that is preparing them to one day compete for 21st century jobs."
An attorney representing Taylor said the former principal has done good things for the school and came highly recommended.
"Marilyn Taylor has dedicated her career to bringing the highest educational standards to schools and neighborhoods where it is needed the most," attorney Edward W. Vioni wrote in an email to NBC Connecticut on Tuesday evening. "Ms. Taylor is known for turning around low performing schools in Louisiana and was highly recruited to come to Bridgeport and change the culture and academic performance at Dunbar Elementary."
Vioni said Taylor "never intended to steal from the school's fundraising account" and "is doing all that she can so that focus can return to making Dunbar Elementary a great place for children to learn."
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