Kristen Prevedel thought her secret was safe with a friend. It’s a good thing for members of the Falcon Teachers Education Association that it wasn’t. Prevedel, a language-arts teacher at Skyview Middle School in Falcon, a suburb of Colorado Springs, and also the association’s treasurer until this July, went to dinner with a fellow teacher, a next-door neighbor at that. At the restaurant, she told her friend that she’d written about $50,000 worth of union checks to herself at the behest of then-union President Tom Wilke, who said he was changing banks; Wilke told her to keep the cash until a new account was set up. Shortly thereafter, her friend informed police of the conversation. That led to the arrest of Prevedel on August 24 on suspicion of felony theft of $90,750, a sum representing 48 checks written out during 2005 and this year.
Prevedel, alleges the arrest affidavit, also falsified financial reports, including information about funds she presumably had forwarded to the Colorado Education Association. The Falcon association had fallen behind by about $87,000 in payments to the state association and its parent, the National Education Association. Prevedel was supposed to have been sending $14,000 a month in local funds to the state and national associations. Independent of the arrest, the local is considering legal action. But it’s also sent the word out to rank and file that mum’s the word. An association letter stated: “We ask that you keep this matter in confidence and that you not discuss it with nonmembers, representatives of the school district, or others outside the district.” It’s too bad Prevedel hadn’t thought of that one first. Wilke, for his part, thus far has not been charged. (Colorado Springs Gazette, 9/13/06).