PTA president wants name cleared in bank account controversy

 

 

Richmond County Council of PTAs President Monique Braswell on Tuesday called for the “accountability, censorship or immediate removal” of the organization’s state president and an apology from school Superintendent Frank Roberson for how they handled an investigation into a PTA bank account of which she was treasurer.

Roberson initially requested the state PTA investigate the Willis Foreman Elementary School PTA after problems arose this year with bookkeeping and access to the chapter’s bank account.

An audit of the school conducted May 16 by Georgia PTA Treasurer Richard Jones as part of the investigation showed Jones “did not find any evidence that anyone had taken any PTA funds.” He did, however, identify some issues with how checks were requested and other bookkeeping concerns.

Braswell said Jones’ audit, along with minutes from a meeting May 9 of Georgia PTA and Richmond County Board of Education officials show that there was no wrongdoing on her part but that the officials who questioned her have yet to publicly clear her name.

Roberson said that he never accused Braswell of stealing money and does not owe her an apology.

The investigation was requested after the school received a noncompliance letter from the state Feb. 1 for not turning in a 2011-12 audit, membership information and dues. Willis Foreman PTA President Baine Flournoy and Principal Brenda Taylor also questioned several transactions Braswell signed for during the summer using the school’s account and her refusal to release money for an end-of-the-year event.

“I am man enough to apologize if an apology were in order,” Roberson said Tuesday. “We do not owe her an apology.”

Braswell, who oversees all the PTAs in Richmond County, was appointed interim treasurer for Willis Foreman in April 2012 to fill a vacancy at the school and was re-elected for the 2012-13 school year in November.

According to the audit completed by Jones, the school must submit $156 for state and national dues for the 2012-13 term.

He said the chapter was not properly completing check request forms, had not turned in a 990 form, had insufficient minutes taken at meetings and had problems with record-keeping.

Jones said officers should never write checks to “cash,” which was done at least four times last year, but that all money was accounted for.

According to minutes from the May 9 meeting, principals are “doing what they are being told to do” and Braswell was “doing what PTA leaders are trained to do,” but more training is recommended so principals and PTA leaders can work together better.

Minutes indicated Willis Foreman had no records to determine its PTA had any members and Flournoy was not considered to be the president since he issued a resignation earlier this year, even though he rescinded it the next day.

Braswell, who also announced she was running for school board’s District 9 next year, said she did not want to “be known as a thief.” She said the Georgia PTA leadership did not stand up for her during the investigation and has let her down.

State PTA President Donna Kosicki did not immediately return a request for a comment. Braswell said she asked for an apology from Roberson because she has always supported him. She said she will continue to work for the betterment of the school system and the children.

Roberson said he and his staff have not received the audit from Georgia PTA and so have not been able to review the findings.

“We’re not going to always agree on every issue,” Braswell said. “I will always stand tall when it comes down to the benefit of our children and our parents.”

Richmond County superintendent asks Georgia PTA to investigate Willis Foreman Elementary funds
School officials say PTA account opened without permission
Head of PTA Council sees its role changing
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