A bookkeeper who embezzled more than $100,000 from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education was sentenced last week to 21 months in prison.
U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Flannery in Washington also ordered Zachary Shaw to make restitution to the organization after he is released from prison.
Mr. Shaw pleaded guilty to stealing the money after he was apprehended in January by federal law-enforcement agents in Louisville. Bruce B. McHale, a lawyer for ncate, said the bookkeeper had fled to Louisville just before an audit by an independent accounting firm uncovered the theft.
Mr. Shaw joined the organization as a temporary employee in 1986 and was later hired to work full-time. Mr. McHale said the man embezzled between $100,000 and $125,000 in funds from the organization over the next three years by either forging or altering checks.
About $30,000 of the stolen money has been recovered so far through insurance claims or other means.
"It was not a crippling blow to the organization," Mr. McHale said.
The organization's operating funds, which are estimated to amount to several million dollars a year, come from fees paid by the institutions seeking ncate's stamp of approval. The American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education also contributes some membership dues.
Mr. McHale said the experience with Mr. Shaw has prompted ncate to institute some major changes in the way it manages its operations.
Connecticut's two rival teachers' unions have begun taking tentative steps toward a possible merger.
In separate executive-board meetings earlier this year, the Connecticut Education Association and the Connecticut State Federation of Teachers voted to seek permission from their respective members to begin merger talks. The memberships will vote on resolutions authorizing the discussions during statewide meetings in May.
"It became apparent that most of our positions and most of the Connecticut State Federation of Teachers' positions were alike," said Thomas Mondani, executive director of the cea, an affiliate of the National Education Association.
The cea represents most of the state's elementary and secondary teachers--about 30,000. The csft, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, has approximately 20,000 members--about 8,500 of whom teach in precollegiate schools.
Uniting the two groups, Mr. Mondani said, would make teachers "a much more productive force for education in this state."