The Rocky Plains Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization board has been disbanded after alleged misuse of funds by PTO board members.
According the Newton County Sheriff’s Office incident report filed by Rocky Plains Principal Miranda Jones, Jones stated a small amount of money is unaccounted for in the PTO budget. The total amount of money missing is under $100.
It’s believed that gas purchases were made with the funds, but there are no accompanying receipts with any purchases. Transactions for misuse are alleged to have occurred between May and October 2014.
There are four suspects under investigation, according to the NCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Morrison. No charges have been made as of Tuesday afternoon.
Who’s to blame?
A member on the PTO board made the initial allegations of money being mishandled. According to Newton County Schools System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey, the parent admitted to taking items purchased with PTO money, but the actually purchases were made by another board member.
“She didn’t have the debit card,” said Fuhrey as she explained the parent’s claim.
Out of guilt of accepting items paid for with PTO funds, the parent says she reimbursed the PTO and told school administrations about the situation, according to Fuhrey.
But the other board members being accused are saying no misuse of funds ever took place. If there is any issue with money missing, it’s just a clerical error.
Since there aren’t any receipts depicting the actually items purchased, it’s hard to determine who’s telling the truth, says Fuhrey, who made the recommendation to disband the current members on the board.
“It’s really a he said, she said type of situation,” she said.
Fuhrey made her recommendation based on one person’s admission of guilt so “you know something happened,” and because the school’s PTO wasn’t following standard accounting practices by keeping receipts of purchased made.
“There’s skepticism around that group,” she said. “It’s very difficult to tell what happened because there’s no admission of guilt on any of their part except for the one parent.”
School seeking new members
Letters seeking nominations for new board members will be mailed to parents of the students enrolled at Rocky Plains Monday, Oct. 27.
Rocky Plains Elementary School administrators will oversee the process.
Fuhrey made a suggestion that whoever sits on the new board take courses on standard bookkeeping practices to avoid a similar situation like this from occurring in the future.
NCSS is currently on their fall break. School will go back into session Oct. 27.