Woman Charged with Theft of PTA Money
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A 31-year-old woman has been charged with the theft of at least $500 after she reportedly took money from the PTA association of a Fort Osage School District elementary school. Mary Ward faces a Class C felony theft charge in Jackson County.
Court records show the Jackson County Sheriff’s office was contacted about a reported stealing or discrepancy of $22,000 in PTA accounts. The issue was discovered in July. A lengthy investigation points the finger at Ward. Meanwhile, students and teacher will miss out some things this school year.
Andrew Riley is excited to tell FOX 4 what’s cool about his school after his first day of kindergarten.
“I did races and I went outside,” Riley said.
It wasn’t grins and giggles when he got home. His mother Brittany received an email from the school district letting her know that programs meant to benefit kids like Andrew had been ripped off.
“I just think it’s not right that someone could steal money from a school,” said parent Brittany RIley.
Jackson County prosecutors released a probable cause statement that alleges Ward had been taking the money between September 2010 and May of 2011. It also alleges that Ward had an unauthorized debit card for the PTA’s account. And there were checks written from Ward’s personal account, deposited in the PTA account.
“I was saddened more than anything. People sometimes make wrong decisions,” said PTA president Chris Ford said.
PTA president Chris Ford says the association had been putting money aside for a technology fund which included I-Pads in the classrooms for kids. During the first semester of 2011, the PTA also postponed teacher grants. They allow teachers to apply for money for things in the classroom that the district doesn’t pay for.
The PTA will manage will less money for the 2012-2013 school year. Ford says several changes are in place to make sure more money isn’t stolen. First, the PTA has now insured its money. Now, the PTA president, vice president and secretary will sign off on bank statements along with the treasurer. And, money will be counted by two board members instead of just one.