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Former principal charged with tampering with record

By Star Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:15 p.m. HST, Sep 6, 2013

A former principal at Waipahu's August Ahrens Elementary School accused of financial impropriety has been served a two-count penal summons complaint, Hawaii's Attorney General David M. Louie announced today. 

The complaint, filed by state on July 22, charges Florentina Smith, 69, of Waipahu with tampering with a government record.

The state alleges the crime was committed on Nov. 12, 2011, and the following week on Nov. 19, while Smith was serving as principal of the school. Tampering with a government record occurs when a person knowingly and falsely makes, completes or alters, or knowingly makes a false entry into, a written government record. It is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.

Smith's arraignment and plea is set for 8:30 a.m. Monday in Ewa District Court.

Sources have told the Star-Advertiser that Smith was investigated for allegedly directing a teacher to file a per diem reimbursement claim for training that did not occur.

August Ahrens, with 1,300 students, is one of the state's largest elementary schools, and serves a high-needs population. In the 2010-11 school year, 57 percent of students were on free or reduced-cost lunch, an indicator of poverty, and 24 percent had limited English proficiency, according to a Department of Education report.

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