Olathe police investigate $10K missing from school group - CBS 5 - KPHO

Olathe police investigate $10K missing from school group's accounts

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Police are investigating after more than $10,000 went missing from the parent-teacher organization at an Olathe elementary school.

Officials believe $10,640 went missing from Aug. 1, 2010, through June 30 at Westview Elementary School. PTOs are similar to parent-teacher associations and operate separately from the school funds.

A member of the PTO board notified police last month that the numbers weren't adding up, and Olathe detectives in the financial crime unit are reviewing the books.

"They will be interviewing everyone there on the PTO board and obviously talking to the bank and figure out exactly who has access," Olathe Sgt. Bryan Hill said.

Parents are outraged that anyone could steal money from children.

Parent Matt Reed said he wants to know how someone got access and why there weren't better records kept. His wife concurred. They have two children that attend the school.

"We do this for the kids to make sure it helps with school supplies they offer to kids who can't afford it," Christy Reed said. "And pizza parties for kids. Helps for movie night. For someone to just steal from that it's really upsetting."

The Reeds said they would hold off on raising anymore funds for the PTO until there has been accountability and trust restored.

If money is found to be missing and depending on the amount stolen, felony charges could be filed.

The Olathe School District issued the following statement:

"We were deeply disappointed to learn about the incident with the PTO funds at Westview Elementary. We have been working closely with the Olathe Police Department on the matter," the PTO and PTA groups in the district function as separate entities from the district, however, we do provide training opportunities each year for PTO and PTA leaders to learn safeguards and best practices for handling funds."

Just last week, Sandra C. Huddleston was charged in Johnson County court with one count of embezzlement. She is accused of stealing at least $25,000 from the Valley Park PTO in the Blue Valley School District.

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