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Former Waipahu school principal pleads not guilty to record-tampering charges

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 01:25 p.m. HST, Sep 09, 2013

A former Waipahu elementary school principal pleaded not guilty to record-tampering charges in Ewa District Court this morning.

Florentina Smith, 69, waived her first appearance in court. Her attorney, Della Au Belatti, entered the pleas on her behalf.

District Court Judge Russel Nagata approved a request for a jury trial. The case will head to trial Sept. 23 in Circuit Court.

The state Attorney General's office has charged Smith with two counts of tampering with a government record, a misdemeanor. She was charged via summons and not arrested.

The state alleges the crimes were committed on Nov. 12, 2011, and the following week on Nov. 19, while Smith was serving as principal of August Ahrens Elementary. The complaint does not include any details of the alleged crimes.

Belatti declined further comment after today's hearing as did state Deputy Attorney General Christopher Young.

Smith had been placed on administrative leave in January 2012 as the state investigated allegations against her. Sources told the Star-Advertiser at the time that Smith was investigated for allegedly directing a teacher to file a per diem reimbursement claim for training that did not occur. 

Smith's employment with the Department of Education ended in September 2012, a department spokesman said. She had been with the DOE since 1971.

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cojef wrote:
If the allagations are true, it truly a sad situation and does not speak well for all principals, as a bad apple spoils it for the rest of the bunch. More so, if she is among the over paid principals drawing over $150,000 salaries.
on September 9,2013 | 11:38AM
AhiPoke wrote:
What's not stated but probably true is that she was able to retire with full benefits. Government employees can commit virtually any crime without suffering any consequence. The insult to taxpayers is that we end up paying.
on September 9,2013 | 11:58AM
ejkorvette wrote:
Maggot! Full Punishment with public apology to students and parents.
on September 9,2013 | 12:03PM
islandboy1562 wrote:
More to come, tip of the iceberg, maybe DOE administrators/teachers should receive additional ethics training and should not believe the state coffers are their own piggybank to exploit. Honesty and integrity should not be assumed because of their teacher status - a wolf in sheep clothing.
on September 9,2013 | 12:54PM
Hoppy wrote:
What does, "Her employment with the Dept. Of Education ended in Sept. 2012" mean? Was she fired, or was it a forced retirement, meaning she still collects a state pension? I think the public deserves an answer being that she's was a public employee paid by the taxpayers of this state.
on September 9,2013 | 04:27PM
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