Former Region 8 School Treasurer Gets Probation

BALD KNOB, Ark. (AP) - The former treasurer of the Bald Knob School District has pleaded guilty to theft and fraud and was sentenced to five years' probation.

Paula Kay Howerton had faced 30 years in prison and a $45,000 fine. She was charged with three counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and one count of theft of property by deception. She pleaded guilty Monday to the felonies.

Howerton served as treasurer of Bald Knob schools from 2004 to 2007.

Howerton was charged with theft after a state audit found more than $10,000 in fraudulent overtime and paychecks. Howerton was also accused of using a school credit card to book two cruises, but she repaid that amount.

The state took over operations at the Bald Knob School District last summer, after the district was projected to be more than $2 million in debt.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)