Tri County principal fired, apologizes after embezzlement


By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 9:38 am on Monday, June 25, 2012

HOWARD CITY – The Tri County Middle School principal has been fired after allegedly embezzling from the school’s booster fund.

Tri County Superintendent Al Cumings announced Friday that William “Bill” Cichewicz’s employment with the school district has been terminated. Cichewicz has been charged with embezzlement between $1,000 to $20,000. He faces a pre-trial on July 2 and a preliminary examination on July 3 in 64B District Court in Stanton.

“As a school community, we are committed to excellence in all that we do,” Cumings said. “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.”

Cichewicz has already made full restitution of the $1,350 he embezzled. He also wrote a letter of apology to the school district, the entirety of which is posted at www.tricountyschools.com online.

In his letter, Cichewicz details how he embezzled from the school over a period of months.

“I was tempted by the money that was available and I began to take some each time,” he said. “When confronted, I not only felt horrible about what I did, I also felt a sense of relief. Secrets such as these ate away at me as a person and as a leader. I felt guilt about what I was doing and my own violation of a moral code to which I normally adhere. I was trapped in the deceit that comes with breaking the trust of so many who looked up to me.

“When trust is broken, words are less important and actions over time are needed to restore a sense of credibility and respect,” he said. “It is my goal to engage with people in a way that demonstrates that lessons have been learned and behaviors have changed.”

In a follow up letter to parents, Cumings expressed his hope that the focus of the community would be “on the many positive accomplishments that occurred across our district this past year.”

In addition, the letter expressed appreciation to the many volunteers and booster club members for their fundraising assistance and hours of hard work that “keep student dreams and activities alive” in an era of shrinking budgets.

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