The state Education Commissioner has ruled that a tenured Atlantic City school librarian, who was convicted of fraud, then accepted into the pretrial intervention program, must still forfeit her job in the district.
In a convoluted case, Kimberlynn Jurkowski, of Hamilton Township, was convicted Oct. 23, 2013, of defrauding the Hamilton Township school district of nearly $24,000 in a tutoring scam. The district had paid for tutoring for Jurkowski’s two children, but when the tutoring stopped, she and the tutor continued to bill the district for six more months.
The Atlantic City school district notified Jurkowski on Oct. 30, 2013, that as a result of the conviction, her employment was terminated effective of the conviction date.
But the jury verdict was never recorded, and in December 2013, before she was to be sentenced, Jurkowski was accepted into pretrial intervention. A provision of the agreement with prosecutors was that she forfeit her “current employment.”
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According to the decision, in November 2014, after successfully completing her program, Jurkowski attempted to return to her job, then filed a complaint against the school district when it refused to reinstate her. She claimed that since the board had terminated her in October, she technically didn’t have a job in December to forfeit as part of the intervention agreement.
But an administrative law judge and the education commissioner ruled that the district had erroneously sent the termination letter in October rather than waiting for judgment to be formally entered, so Jurkowski was still legally employed by the school district at the time of the intervention agreement in December and would have to forfeit that job.
According to the decision, Jurkowski said if she had known she would have to forfeit her job in the district, she would not have accepted the intervention agreement.
The commissioner noted that his ruling only involves determining job status and that any changes to the intervention agreement would be handled through Superior Court. Jurkowski can also appeal the commissioner’s decision to the appellate court.