Parents, community react to alleged embezzlement by former teach - WNEM TV 5

Parents, community react to alleged embezzlement by former teacher

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

Parents in the Kearsley School District are outraged after learning about a former teacher accused of stealing money in what investigators are calling an illegal gambling operation.

Sara Roberts said she is in disbelief because her children once spoke highly of that teacher.

"It's not just taking away from the school, it's taking away from our kids," Roberts said.

That former teacher 49-year-old Tim Phipps, who is charged with three felonies: one count of embezzlement and two counts of taking charitable proceeds for personal use.

Investigators said Phipps forged the signatures of district officials on charitable event applications that were designed to raise money for the schools.

But instead Phipps used the funds generated from charity poker events to raise money for the Kearsley Baseball Boosters group. A group not affiliated with the district.

Several schools in the district were mentioned in the complaint filed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board including Kearsley High School, Armstrong Middle School, Kate Dowdall Elementary, Burgtorf Early Childhood Center and Fielder Elementary School, where Mary Haddemen's daughter attends.

"I thought he was a role model for these children, to do this really disappoints me," Haddemen said.

What makes Haddemen so upset, she said because the district is hurting financially, parents like her are asked to provide a laundry list of supplies.

She wonders if that money could have been used to help parents in need.

"I can't believe he would use that money for gambling," Haddemen said.

The Kearsley Schools superintendent released a statement:

"We are aware that he is facing legal challenges related to an investigation by the state gaming control board. We have and will cooperate with the authorities."

Roberts said she's already thinking about what to tell her kids about the man, at one time well respected in the community.

"It's a lesson learned. That's why you don't turn out that way," Roberts said.

Copyright 2015 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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