A former member of the Pleasant Ridge Middle School Parent Teacher Organization is facing a charge of theft after police she stole at least $25,000 from the group.
Christine Glover served as treasurer of the PTO from August 2014 to February 2016 before police were notified of possible wrongdoing.
PTO President Pamela Yonker explained that the crime came to light when a check of the group's account in February brought up red flags.
"It came to our attention that some of the account reports had been falsified," Yonker explained.
Police were then notified and Glover was removed from her post.
According to court documents, Glover stole about at least $25,000 but no more than $100,000 during her time on the PTO. She was booked into Johnson County Jail on Friday.
As expected, parents were shocked after hearing news of her arrest.
"We have a student there at the school," explained Brian Tuttle, a father. "To hear that $25,000 was stolen, maybe of what we have contributed and was supposed to go to help the kids, it's concerning."
Tuttle said it's possible some of the money he donated over the years ended up in the wrong hands.
"That money should go to good use, not in someone else's pocket," he said.
Yonker explained that the money the PTO raised went toward events for students and staff and items that could be used in school.
"We buy equipment like microphones or extra iPads. We buy things that the students can actually use," she said.
Now that Glover has been removed from her post and arrested, Yonker said the PTO's goal moving forward is to continue to regain the community's trust.
"I hope they understand how hard we've been working to try and make things happen and keep this sort of crime from happening again," she explained.
The Pleasant Ridge Middle School PTO Board sent out the following email to parents:
Dear PRMS Community,
With heavy hearts, the Pleasant Ridge Middle School PTO Board must inform our community of a recent discovery related to PRMS PTO funds. On February 17, 2016, we learned that a significant amount of our PTO funds were missing from our bank account. Immediately after the discovery, we filed a police report with the Overland Park Police Department (OPPD) and it has been under investigation ever since. The Board had no prior knowledge of these activities, and this was the act of one individual, who was immediately removed from the bank account and the Board.
We have been cooperating with police and working tirelessly to make ourselves available to answer questions or provide any further information to expedite the process. This has been an ongoing criminal investigation and because of that, we have been unable to share the situation with our community until the investigation was complete and charges were filed. Any other actions may have jeopardized the investigative process.
We definitely struggled with the decision not to share any information regarding the case with our community, as we felt you had the right to know. We are all heartbroken and angry, as I’m sure you are all feeling upon hearing this news.
We do not condone these actions, and we have been tenaciously working to improve our procedures to safeguard this from happening again. We have received legal advice on rewriting our by-laws, we have established new systems of checks and balances to establish transparency in all financial transactions, we have closed the bank account in question, and we have opened an additional bank account to ensure that fees paid by parents for the 2016-2017 school year are separate from the funds used to conduct business for the 2015-2016 school year. Members of the PTO board and the PRMS administration have worked countless hours opening the concession stand for additional events, selling donuts, organizing extra restaurant fundraiser nights, working at the McDonald’s fundraising night, and have also made personal financial gifts to the PTO to ensure that this year’s activities were held as planned, with no impact on the students.
We understand that our parent community is hurt and angered by this situation, as is the Board. We know that you will have many questions, and we will be working on getting the answers. Please trust that we will do everything in our power to restore the trust and community that the PRMS PTO stands for, and we appreciate the support and patience of our community while we repair the damage that has been done. We feel that we are going to leave the PRMS PTO better and stronger as a result of this unfortunate situation, and we will recover and grow stronger as a PRMS family and community.
Please know that like you, we believe the students are our top priority, and we are doing everything we can to make sure our programs intended to enrich their middle school experiences continue as planned. We will be sure to keep our community informed as information becomes available.
PTO President: Pam Yonker
President Elect: Joe Contrucci
Secretary: Angela Cushing
Treasurer: Michaela Garlett
Vice President of Fundraising: David Parks
Vice President of Activities: Lynde Price
Vice President of Operations: Angie Tindle
Glover is now facing a charge of felony theft. She will be in court to answer to the charge on June 14.
Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.