Former Bak Middle School treasurer Cathleen Spring arrested; faces forgery, misconduct charges

Posted: 1:02 PM, Jun 23, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-23 23:28:02Z

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The former treasurer for Bak Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach has been arrested.

53-year-old Cathleen Spring is facing charges of forgery and official misconduct, according to Palm Beach County School District Police.

An investigation began after the school's athletic director became suspicious when he wanted to buy sporting goods for $7,433 and he discovered a discrepancy in his in-school athletic account for the 2014-2015 school year. The amount was below what he expected and he wondered why funds left over from the previous year didn't show in the account balance.

According to a probable cause affidavit, he questioned Spring who said there was a "glitch in the system."

The athletic director eventually got a $7,433 check from Spring for the purchase, a police report stated.

The athletic director later discovered money from three different in-school accounts, amounting to $7,500, had been transferred into the account for athletics and he became suspicious.

After being referred to the School District Inspector General's Office, a senior auditor began looking into the case.

The auditor determined that $3,034 was stolen/missing from the athletic department's 2014 account and $2,506 was stolen/missing from his 2015 account, the affidavit stated. The auditor determined that the athletic department should have had more than sufficient funds to buy the planned purchase of sporting goods.

The school's principal, Sally Rozanski, later said her signature had been forged on the check for the sporting goods as well as the check requisition form, school police said. Rozanski also said that she never approved the transfer of three in-school accounts into the athletic director's account.

When questioned later, police said Spring admitted signing the principal's name but said she had permission when the administrator wasn't on campus and even would sit with her and practice her signature. 

Police said the principal denied ever giving Spring permission to sign her name to checks.

Investigators also accuse Spring of using a district purchasing card for two charges to Jet Blue and then forging the principal's name on the check used to reimburse the district.

Spring faces 2 counts of forgery and 2 counts of official misconduct by falsifying an official record or document.

When the investigation started in 2015, the district removed Spring from the school. She later resigned.

In May, a report by the district's inspector general alleged that Spring removed more than 100 deposits from the school's safe that came from fundraisers. At the time, district police said they believed that Spring had stolen $66,000 from the school . The State Attorney's Office declined to prosecute, citing a lack of evidence.