WINCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH)-- Some hope for kids and parents in Winchester who are fighting to keep their schools from closing. Bank of America has stepped in to offer a short-term loan which the district won't have to pay back until some grant money arrives in April.
The district's former financial director is now under arrest. He's accused of embezzling more than two and half million dollars of taxpayer money and spending it on gambling and mistresses.
The town leaders met to choose between bad and worse in Winchester.
"People in this town are resilient, we have been through worse. We've been through the '55 flood and we got through that," said Maryann Welcome, mayor.
They are trying to bail out from a flood of debt. More than $2.5 million created by years of alleged embezzlement by the former financial director, Henry Centrella.
The town leaders had two options to make payroll and keep their schools open in December. One was to levy a special tax or option two was to secure to secure $2.5 million in loans from private banks. They chose option two.
But to go ahead with the loans, the towns people have to vote on it at referendum.
"We are making progress and are trying to put Winchester back on the road to recovery where everybody believes it should be," said Candy Perez, 2nd selectman.
It is time sensitive as the clock is ticking. They have set the next council meeting for the 12th of October and the referendum for Saturday the 16th. If the vote is not approved, they will have to levy some sort of tax to make up for the revenue shortfall.
"If we were able to get the bank commitment next week, we would be able to move the situation fast so the schools and people can feel more comfortable," said Perez.
For the townspeople it has been a long and painful road, so painful people were not holding back when the name of the former financial director Henry Centrella is mentioned.
"There is a Hartford newspaper that said there is a special place in hell for the person who did this, and I would like to light the fire," said Virginia Shultz-Charette, Winchester.
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