School's PTA account frozen for discrepancies



The former treasurer said she can explain.
By JEANNE STARMACK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- The bank account of Davis Elementary School PTA has been frozen while police investigate discrepancies reported after an audit of the treasurer's records.
PTA president Jannine Zimmerman said Monday a police report was filed Oct. 14. It was not immediately available for public inspection, and no charges have been filed.
Zimmerman said she caught a discrepancy of about $400 between the ending September account balance and the beginning October balance. She reported the matter Oct. 11 to Judith Bryant, president of Austintown PTA Council. An audit was conducted and other discrepancies were found, Zimmerman said.
She and Bryant met with the Davis PTA treasurer, Melissa Crago, Oct. 13 to discuss the matter.
Crago "did offer some explanations," Zimmerman said. "But a lot of it didn't make sense."
Amount undetermined
Zimmerman said she doesn't know for sure how much money may be unaccounted for because there are still checks written on the account that have not cleared.
"And we don't know about the cash," she said. "But it looks like $2,000 is missing, that we know of."
Bryant filed the report with Austintown police Oct. 14 on the advice of Davis Principal Tom Lenton and schools Superintendent Douglas Heuer.
Zimmerman and Bryant went to the school officials after it became inevitable that Davis PTA would have to postpone Funfest, a carnival with pizza and games for the school, because the account had been frozen.
"We pay for pizza and games and it would be impossible to do that without checks," she said. "It was a very big decision to postpone Funfest."
The carnival was to have taken place Friday.
The discrepancies
Some of the discrepancies noted in documents on file with the police report included:
UA $189 check made out to a company called MRC for kindergarten welcome gifts that was deposited into Crago's own account.
U*Two checks written for the same items for the same amount.
UA check for $350 from a closed account deposited into the PTA's account.
Crago's explanations
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Crago said she can explain all the discrepancies.
UThe difference between the September ending balance and the October beginning balance happened because she "might have hit the wrong key," Crago said, noting that she was doing her reports late at night and was tired.
Uhe check written to MRC and deposited in her own account was for reimbursement for books she bought for the kindergartners. She noted that she was warned by another PTA member not to write checks out to herself, because it looks bad.
UThe checks written for the same items and the same amount were for four ink cartridges for her computer for producing fliers for the Davis open house, she said. She said two cartridges were bought at two different times.
UThe $350 check from the closed account was mistakenly deposited, possibly because she had let her niece play with old checks, and the check in question had gotten mixed in with her PTA files, she said.
"All my PTA stuff was laying around in my computer room," she said, and I don't know how it [the check] got there."
She has resigned
Crago said she has receipts for purchases for which she should have been reimbursed. She said she has resigned as treasurer.
"I'm done. I can't handle this. I don't want to deal with it any more."
The PTA holds fund-raisers for events for pupils throughout the year. Zimmerman said the Austintown council has lent the Davis PTA $1,500 so it can continue to sponsor activities.

More like this from vindy.com

Subscribe Today

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive daily news.

Want more? Click here to subscribe to either the Print or Digital Editions.