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Richmond County superintendent asks Georgia PTA to investigate Willis Foreman Elementary funds

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 7:40 PM
Last updated Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:50 AM
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Richmond County Superinten­dent Frank Roberson has requested the Georgia PTA investigate the practices and financial condition of the Willis Foreman Elementary School PTA after various problems with bookkeeping and access to the chapter’s bank account arose this year.

Monique Braswell will  not release the PTA's funds.  FILE/STAFF
Monique Braswell will not release the PTA's funds.

Georgia PTA President Donna Kosicki will visit the school May 8 and meet with chapter officials to address the 2011-12 financial audit, membership information and dues that were never submitted to the state, which caused them to receive a noncompliance letter Feb. 1.

“I want the PTA functioning to support the school,” Roberson said. “They do things that support students, so we want that entity working.”

Willis Foreman Principal Brenda Taylor also contacted Roberson after she said the chapter’s treasurer, Monique Braswell, blocked the school’s PTA officers from accessing the chapter’s checkbook. Taylor said the school planned to fund an end-of-year field day and awards banquet with PTA fundraising money, but Braswell, who also serves as the president of the Richmond County Council of PTAs, refused to allocate money for the events.

Braswell was appointed interim treasurer in April 2012 to fill a vacancy for the position and was re-elected for the 2012-13 school year in November.

“We have been held hostage all year,” Taylor said. “We have $4,400 in the bank the parents have raised, but we haven’t been able to do a thing for them … this is something I haven’t experienced in 20 years working for PTA.”

Braswell said she has not released the funds because the school’s PTA is considered disbanded and does not have another executive board officer who can provide the required second signature on a check with her.

Willis Foreman PTA Presi­dent Baine Flournoy submitted a letter of resignation to Braswell on behalf of himself, the vice president and secretary on Jan. 25 but rescinded it a day later. He cited Braswell’s refusal to address the school’s missing 2011-12 audit and membership information, and her skipping meetings as reasons for his resignation. Flournoy, however, rescinded it Jan. 26 after Taylor asked him to stay on and informed him the resignation never applied to the vice president and secretary because their signatures were not included on the initial letter.

In an April 7 e-mail, Kosicki acknowledged Flournoy rescinded his resignation on Jan. 26.

Braswell argues the resignations are still in effect and without another executive board officer to co-sign a check, she will not release the funds. Braswell also said the $1,400 for Honors Day and $1,300 for Field Day activities were not properly budgeted for at the beginning of the year.

“I’m not releasing the funds because they’re not in good standing and they don’t have officers,” Braswell said.

However, Taylor said the PTA traditionally funds these end-of-year events because the school’s general budget cannot support them. Roberson said Willis Foreman is working with the district’s internal auditor to find other ways to pay for the events.

Flournoy said he rescinded his resignation because he cares about the school and wants to see its finances get straightened out. But with Braswell’s refusal to give officers access to the checkbook and financial information, they were unable to make any purchases, such as incentives for students during Criterion Referenced Competency Test testing week.

There was also confusion about whether it was Flournoy’s or Braswell’s responsibility to conduct and submit the audit and membership dues and information to the state, which has still not been done. Kosicki said it was the treasurer’s job, but Braswell disagreed.

“This has been the worst nightmare you could imagine,” said Flournoy, whose daughter is in kindergarten at Willis Foreman. “This could have been a great program, and I wanted to do what was right. It’s a cat and mouse game now. We wait and see what happens. Me and Dr. Taylor have done everything we can.”

Comments (6) Add comment
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nocnoc 05/01/13 - 08:30 pm
Wonder what is really going on?

So do I.

This promises to get interesting.

But the answer to the problem is simple:
For all offices including Treasurer.

Young Fred
Young Fred 05/02/13 - 02:36 am
Now, if the state PTA would only...

use their power to examine text books and teaching standards....that would be something we could all be proud of and get behind.

I was a PTA member for many years, under the niave impression that we'd have a say-so in such important areas as text books, etc.

Only to find out that membership in your schools local PTA is nothing more than a fund-raising organization.

jmo 05/02/13 - 07:34 am
Here we go again....

No disrespect to the many fine people that do a great job in PTA's; but apparently some of these treasurers believe the Organization's funds are their personal piggy bank.

Red Headed Step Child
Red Headed Step Child 05/02/13 - 08:09 am
IF there's an issue with

IF there's an issue with there not being sufficient officers to release the funds, OK, I understand by-laws, but there should be no issue with there being an audit of the account to ensure that all funds collected and any disbursements have been accounted for. Audits are typically done by people who have no vested interest in the account / organization. If I was in her shoes, with all the impropriety that has happened with PTA and HOA accounts in the past, I'd do whatever I needed to do to ensure that everything's above board. She's got to be hiding something, and it's not going to be good...

Dixieman 05/02/13 - 11:46 am
Another argument for private schools

Young Fred - glad the wool has fallen from your eyes. There is NO MEANINGFUL ROLE for parents (or students for that matter) in the government school system. Teachers and teachers' unions have seized the reins of power and are not about to let them go. It's all about teachers' vacation days, sick leave, workload, etc. and the textbooks and curriculum are decided by educrats. Their message to the PTA is just as you described: "Go raise some money, turn it over to us, and shut up." Get your kids into a good private school!

rmwhitley 05/02/13 - 06:19 pm
Sounds like an audit

is in order and that a fence should be placed around Monique's home---- with her in it. Just my opinion.

mrsbras 05/05/13 - 06:06 am
Nothing to hide

All your comments are true I did give the school an audit but she fired the last president all that stuff got missing now here is the deal we give a copy of the audit to the principal and she sends it downtown and the Jon of the president to make I the treasurer send it to the state PTA now with all that being said on April the 18 while i in was in hospital have both mb breast remove from cancer I received a message from the principal saying disregard the audit and she was no longer mad at me well disregard because she knew she already had it and not being mad mad at me should had anything to do with it but the principal told everyone but me that she didn't want me at her school.anyone who wants to see it I will gladly give it you not only that she knew I was in hospital when she contacted me and who to contact in my absence instead she gave a letter to kids to take home saying call mrs Braswell she won't give us our money so parents started calling me as early as 5;44 am about this and where am I now back in the hospital trying to clears my name

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