The Fallbrook Union High School District's migrant education director pleaded guilty Wednesday to one felony count of forgery after he billed the county for students' work they didn't do.
Arturo Santoyo, 35, entered his plea before Municipal Judge Laura P. Hammes, who set a Nov. 6 sentencing.
Santoyo, a Chula Vista resident who has worked for the district for six years, faces a maximum of three years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Under his plea bargain, Santoyo is prohibited from ever working for the district after Nov. 1. He also is prohibited from working for any other school district in California before September, 1987.
His conviction could be reduced by the judge to a misdemeanor if he successfully completes his probationary period. Deputy Dist. Atty. John Heisner said the district attorney's office would not oppose reduction.
The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying public money accounts, but Heisner said the judge would consider four similar counts, plus five felony counts of misappropriation of public funds, before sentencing.
After sentencing and a hearing before the state Board of Education, Santoyo could lose his teaching license. The board can revoke or suspend his license or issue a public or private reproval, Heisner said.
The migrant program Santoyo directed is a federally financed program for schoolchildren of migrant farm workers. The charges stemmed from the repayment of a $2,000 loan Santoyo obtained from the Fallbrook High Associated Student Body treasury to send three students in the program to the 1984 national Board of Education conference in New Orleans.
To repay the loan, the students were placed in a work experience program, in which they worked at jobs in the community for minimum wage and school credit. The students' time sheets claimed work that was never performed, Heisner said.