Law & Courts A National Roundup

Former Union Leader in Kansas Pleads Not Guilty to Theft Charges

March 22, 2005 1 min read

A former president of the Lawrence, Kan., teachers’ union has pleaded not guilty to stealing nearly $100,000 from the Lawrence Education Association.

Steve Howe, an assistant district attorney in nearby Johnson County who is helping to prosecute the case, said Wayne Kruse entered the plea on March 11 in Douglas County District Court. He faces two counts of forgery and one count of theft of more than $25,000.

Mr. Kruse, who was the president of the local affiliate of the Kansas National Education Association for four years, allegedly stole the money and forged the checks from late 2003 to 2004, Mr. Howe said.

David Schauner, the general counsel for the state teachers’ union, an affiliate of the National Education Association, said the state union noticed problems when the dues deducted from union members’ paychecks were not properly handed over.

Mr. Kruse was suspended in January from his job as a 6th grade teacher at Quail Run Elementary School in Lawrence. The Lawrence school board decided March 14 to not renew his contract, Mr. Schauner said.

A second hearing is set for March 28. If convicted, Mr. Kruse could face one to two years in prison or on probation, Mr. Howe said.

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