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GRIFFITH — The school district has severed ties with a teacher at Beiriger Elementary School five days after she was accused in court of stealing more than $19,000 from the school's Parent/Teacher Council.

Griffith Public Schools has "severed employment" with Kristen G. Reczek, 34, of Crown Point, according to a statement by the district's director of finance and operations, George Jerome, in a news release Friday.

Reczek is accused of using the council's Centier Bank debit card to make unauthorized purchases and make 32 ATM withdrawals between May 21 and Oct. 10, according to Lake Criminal Court records.

"The issue came to light in October when the (Parent/Teacher Council) noticed what appeared to be financial irregularities," Jerome said in the release. 

The school's principal and current president of the council brought the alleged theft to the attention of law enforcement, court records show. The council president and principal told police Reczek was the only person who had the debit card for the council's account.

Reczek allegedly told the council president and principal she did not steal any money from the account. Video surveillance images from multiple ATM locations showed Reczek making withdrawals, court records said.

Reczek is accused of trying to conceal the amount of stolen money by submitting falsified treasury reports to the Parent/Teacher Council's leadership. The council operates separately from the school.

Lake Criminal Court records show Reczek was released from custody after posting bond Tuesday.

Although Parent/Teacher Council organizations are not under control of the school district, schools officials said Jerome and Meghan Damron, corporation treasurer and human resources director, are reviewing practices for all organizations regarding handling of funds.  

"Where needed, procedures will be implemented to prevent a recurrence,” Jerome said in the news release. 

Damron said the job opening for a sixth-grade teacher at Beiriger Elementary was posted on the school website Friday. 

* Editor's note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version.


Public safety reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.