Say this for Lisa Barrett: She isn’t one to deny the obvious. Last week, Barrett, former president of the Exeter, Pa.-based Wyoming Area School District Teachers Union, was charged in federal court with embezzling more than $30,000 in funds from the union over a six-year period. According to her attorney, she “has agreed to accept full responsibility for her actions,” including making full restitution. She had resigned as union president in February, the same month she took an indefinite leave of absence from her teaching post. The local school board accepted her resignation as a teacher at an August 20 meeting. The school district is located in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.
Federal prosecutors allege that Barrett, 48, a resident of Shavertown, Pa., during April 2006-April 2012 misused Wyoming Area School District Teachers Union funds for personal gain. The union is an affiliate of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, which in turn is an affiliate of the National Education Association. The charges involve unauthorized use of a union credit card. Prosecutors announced last Tuesday, September 24 that Barrett had waived indictment by a grand jury and agreed to plead guilty. The school district said it would “look into” whether these criminal charges would prevent her from receiving a retirement pension. A formal guilty plea will be established at a later date.