Former Tieton councilmember expected to make plea deal

      TIETON, Wash. -- After thousands of dollars disappeared from Highland High School, an employee was charged with theft.

      Now KIMA has learned Staci Fordahl is expected to make a plea deal.

      Staci Fordahl is expected to make a plea deal next week. She was a Tieton councilmember when she was first accused of stealing from local schools. Tieton's mayor still can't believe it.

      "What's your reaction to hearing all these accusations?" asked KIMA.
      "Well as I originally stated, I was absolutely shocked," said Stanley Hall, Tieton Mayor.

      Making an Alford Plea allows Fordahl to maintain her innocence. But, she will agree the evidence against her was likely to get a conviction on theft and forgery charges.

      "I understand that sometimes the evidence says, well yeah, there's a good chance you did, but sometimes the evidence isn't always right," said Hall.

      Fordahl was first arrested for embezzlement two years ago. The case was dropped for a lack of evidence. But, then auditors discovered $11,000 missing from Highland High. Fordahl was the one in charge of depositing money for the school. The plea will leave Fordahl a convicted felon.

      "I'm glad it's finally over and there won't be any more publicity about it," said Hall.

      The plea is expected to come with a month of house arrest.

      The Highland School District says it's now practicing better oversight of its cash receipts and bank deposits.