AKRON, Ohio - The Akron mother, who was sentenced to 10 days in the Summit County Jail for felony tampering with records, said she's planning to appeal her guilty verdict.
Kelley Williams-Bolar, 40, spoke exclusively with NewsChannel5 reporter Bob Jones from inside the jail last Thursday. She was released from jail on Wednesday.
Judge Patricia Cosgrove could have sent Williams-Bolar to a state prison for up to 10 years. Instead, the judge opted for local jail time, two years community control and 80 hours of community service.
Still, Williams-Bolar said she was shocked when she was ordered to spend time behind bars.
"I did expect probation. I did not expect to be here," said Williams Bolar, who was dressed in a gray and white jail jumpsuit during the interview.
A jury determined that Williams-Bolar lied about her residency to Copley-Fairlawn school officials beginning in 2006, so that her two girls could enroll in the district's schools.
The prosecution successfully argued that Williams-Bolar's primary address was in Akron, not at her father's address in Copley Township, as Williams-Bolar had indicated on enrollment forms. The district said Williams-Bolar should have paid out-of district tuition that totaled more than $30,000 over two years.
But, Williams-Bolar said she was not trying to deceive Copley-Fairlawn and she felt that her kids should have been allowed to attend the schools for free.
"My primary residence was both places. I stayed at both places. They were living with me at the metropolitan housing (in Akron). They was (sic) also living with my father. I had more than one home," Williams-Bolar said.
The residency dispute, turned criminal trial, has generated national attention because a jail sentence is so rare. Williams-Bolar called it a case of "selective prosecution" because Copley-Fairlawn has handled dozens of other residency complaints without filing criminal charges.
"I don't think they wanted money. I think they wanted me to be an example," Williams-Bolar said.
Williams-Bolar's two girls are now staying with her father, Edward Williams, at the Copley Township home while she serves her jail sentence.
Edward Williams also went on trial for grand theft, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict on his charge, so Judge Cosgrove declared a mistrial.
When asked if she would have done anything differently, Williams-Bolar paused for a long time and said, "I would have done it again, but I would have been more detailed."
Williams-Bolar is a teacher's aide in the Akron school district and said she needs 12 more credit hours in order to get her teacher's license. The Akron school district has not decided whether Williams-Bolar can keep her current job.
Now that she has a felony conviction, Williams-Bolar may not be able to teach in Ohio. That decision would rest with the state board of education.
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