After being charged by a Leaguetown grand jury with theft of between $1,500 and $20,000, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Treasurer Mary Burns could face up to 10 years in jail.
“Mary has been having some health problems, but that doesn’t give her the right to take money that doesn’t belong to her,” Leaguetown PTA finance officer Jeannette Limpkin said.
Last month, auditors found $14,000, discrepancy following a yearly review of the organizations finances. The PTA has contributed thousands of dollars to the school for many projects.
“You just have to be very vigilant,” Superintendent Curtis King said. “We would certainly prosecute if we found a school employee who was taking activity funds.”
The PTA found $2,000 missing last fall and assumed she probably took more since a lot of the contributions are in cash.
“Mrs.Burns seems to be a caring person. I guess she got frustrated because she couldn’t provide for her family like others could, and she saw temptation and took it,” Junior English Teacher Marilyn Lenk said.
If found guilty, she will face a maximum of 10 years in jail or receive a fine of $150,000.
“It’s better for the kids to know what has happened rather than allowing undocumented gossip to spread and possibly some wrong conclusions made because we didn’t communicate,” Lenk said.
The kids planned for two weeks to go to the theatre to see Macbeth.
“Then Mrs. Lenk said it was cancelled. She didn’t give us any explanation and got upset when we kept asking why,” Junior James Grigsby said.
At the end of the last school year, records showed $78,000 in the PTA’s account and auditors looked over the books, $27,000 were in the account.
“Something we were afraid would tear our school apart actually has brought the school and PTA together,” Leaguetown PTA President Sydney Long said.
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The school board will meet Monday to vote on junior Jim Stack’s appeal to grow his hair out for charity. Principal Tonya king initially denied.
“Had I approved Jim’s request,” King said. “The school would be in chaos.”
The dress code says a male students hair can not be longer than collar length and must be a natural color.
“Anyone can donate money,” Stack said. “But it takes time and dedication to grow your hair and donate it.” Stack said. Locks of Love asks for at least 10 inches of hair. “I don’t know how many teenagers today,” Holly Stack, mother of Stack said. “Would put so much time and effort into helping someone else.
Student council also wrote a letter to support Stack directed to the school board which was signed by 350 students. 78 of 150 males signed the letter. “I don’t see what the big deal is anyway,” Student Council President Gilbert Castillo said.
Locks of Love gave the school board a letter stating that Stack had applied to be a donor with parents permission. “The letter was well written,” School board President, Bill Valdez said. He further decided not to comment on the issue right now.
Locks of Love receives 200 request from families and turn down about 150 of those request, “We desperately need human hair for wigs,” Gisel Roco, President of Locks of Love said. “We refer the parents to other organizations, but I wish we didn’t have to.”