KALISPELL, Mont. -

A former secretary at Lakeside Elementary School has pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars from a union account.

The Daily Inter Lake reports 36-year-old Sandy Hawkes pleaded guilty to felony theft during a hearing in District Court in Kalispell on Wednesday.

Hawkes resigned after being charged with taking money from the Somers Classified Employee Union account. She was the treasurer.

Hawkes told police she embezzled about $5,000, but an audit indicated nearly $9,000 was missing. If both sides cannot agree on a restitution amount, a separate hearing will be held.

Under Hawkes' plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend a six-year suspended sentence with the Department of Corrections. She can argue for a deferred sentence. Sentencing is set for Jan. 16.