- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

VERNON, Conn. (AP) - Plymouth’s school superintendent spent part of the last day of summer break in court, accused of stealing about $15,000 from the town of Hebron while running the schools there.

A judge Tuesday transferred Eleanor Cruz’s case to the section of Rockville Superior Court that handles more serious criminal matters. She is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 12 on a larceny charge.

Police accuse the 63-year-old Cruz of misusing school district credit cards in Hebron to run up personal expenses and misappropriating other school funds.

Plymouth officials have launched an investigation and asked Cruz not to show up for work until that review is completed.

Her lawyer, John Gesmonde, has said Cruz did not have any criminal intent and has characterized the issue as a misinterpretation of language in her contract concerning expenditures.

He also told the Bristol Press that in one instance she used her district credit card at a department store when she mistook it for her personal credit card.

He did not return a telephone message seeking comment Tuesday.

Curuz served as superintendent in Hebron for 7½ years before leaving in December 2012 to take the Plymouth job.

“The Plymouth Board of Education is fully committed to addressing the matter of the superintendent’s employment as expeditiously as possible,” Raymond Engle, the board’s chairman, said in a prepared statement. “However, in order to protect the school district, it is important that the board comply with all legal requirements concerning this situation, including the provisions of the superintendent’s employment contract.”

Michael Santogotta, the Plymouth school district’s business manager, has been leading the district while the investigation is being conducted.

Classes in Plymouth begin on Wednesday.

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