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School officials say PTA account opened without permission

Thursday, May 2, 2013 9:45 PM
Last updated Friday, May 3, 2013 1:00 AM
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The principal of Willis Foreman Elementary School and its PTA president are questioning a bank account set up by the chapter’s treasurer last May and several transactions made over the summer when school was closed.

Principal Brenda Taylor said she did not authorize Monique Braswell to open a new Fifth Third Bank account for the school’s PTA after Braswell became interim treasurer in April. Taylor also said she did not find out about the change until school began in August, and that the PTA has traditionally used Southern Bank in Hephzibah for its account.

Braswell, who also serves as president of the Richmond County Council of PTAs, signed about $3,500 in checks to pay for bookbags, council dues, fundraising candy and bills between June and July, which she said is normal activity for a PTA.

She also said Taylor directed her to open the account to prevent the 2011-12 school year PTA president and vice president from accessing the account after they were removed from their positions in April.

“(Taylor) told us to close the old account they had and that they wanted it at a new bank,” Braswell said.

Taylor said she is questioning the transactions made over the summer because they were never approved by the PTA executive board, and the school typically does not have any PTA activity when school is closed.

“By that time, you have wrapped up everything you need to do for school anyway and everything should be shut down,” Taylor said. “Typically you go from August to May. ... When school is out, nothing happens for PTA at a school.”

Willis Foreman parent Baine Flournoy was elected PTA president in November and said he requested account statements from Fifth-Third in February after Georgia PTA notified the school was not in good standing for not having submitted a 2011-12 audit, current membership dues or information.

Flournoy said he and Taylor reviewed charges made over the summer: $432 to Y-Ties company, $2,010 to a chocolate company, $200 to Murphey Middle School PTA, $500 for bookbags to the Richmond County Council of PTAs, and about $400 in council dues and registration.

Braswell said the charges are legitimate and paid for past-due bills to the chocolate and Y-Ties companies, a refund to Murphey for candy bought from the school, money for a county-wide bookbag drive and dues and registration owed to the PTA council.

There was also a $1,400 cash withdrawal made July 27. Braswell said this was “an honest mistake” when she withdrew money from the wrong account for a district-wide event. After realizing the mistake, Braswell deposited the $1,400 back into the account July 30, bank statements obtained by The Augusta Chronicle show.

Braswell removed Flournoy and PTA secretary Felicia Burley from the bank account’s access card in early February after Flournoy submitted a letter of resignation Jan. 25 on behalf of himself, Burley and vice president Lori Smith.

Flournoy said he should still be on the account because he rescinded his resignation Jan. 26 after Taylor asked him to stay and informed him the resignation did not apply to the other board members because their signatures were not included.

Because Braswell’s is now the only name on the account, the school cannot access any of the roughly $4,400 to pay for an end-of-year field day and honors banquet for students.

Superintendent Frank Roberson requested the Georgia PTA investigate the finances and practices of the Willis Foreman chapter, and a review is scheduled for Wednesday.

Braswell said she knows the legitimacy of her actions will be proven after the investigation is completed.

Taylor and Flournoy said the investigation will prove them right.

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fedex227
11179
Points
fedex227 05/02/13 - 11:11 pm
4
1
Proper financial and accounting procedures aside ...
Unpublished

(about which this group seems to know very little), it sounds like Ms. Braswell is being hung out to dry on this one. Aside from the $1400 mistaken withdrawal which she quickly corrected, I don't see any evidence of impropriety on her part. We've witnessed a lot of corruption in both Richmond and Columbia counties by school and homeowner association treasurers in recent past and have seen what corrupt people can do when they have access to these funds. Can't say I can recall one where the accused opened a 'secret bank account' to PAY OFF THE DEBTS INCURRED BY THE ORGANIZATION THEY WORKED FOR. However, since all of the facts are not in, if Ms. Braswell is indeed proven to be a closet bookbag-hoarding chocaholic, I withdraw my earlier comments.

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 05/03/13 - 06:22 am
2
0
Right Now we have nothing

Right Now we have nothing more than She Said , They Said.

What I have read and heard 2nd hand, are some viable explanations by the Treasurer and presented issues by the PTA and School personnel.

Could the Treasurer be guilty? YES.

Could others be guilty? YES.

Could both involved parties be telling the truth, but hiding a crime? YES.

Could they be telling facts in a way to present a slanted view and steer public opinion to "their" wanted conclusion? YES.

Could NO crime have been committed? YES.
This is where I started wondering about the Principle and Former PTA Members and is this a Personality conflict? I am reading too much venting here.

While all the facts are not in.
I am growing equally suspicious of the Principle and Former PTA Members.

WHY NOT JUST HAVE
An Independent" (NON RCBOE) audit of the PTA funds and then hold NEW Elections?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 05/03/13 - 06:33 am
0
0
And why pray tell do we not have more parental
Unpublished

involvement in the schools. This is a case in point. Every single position of authority in ARC government is corrupt to some degree. Honesty, ethics and moral conscience are just some words on the school's display board in front of the building. Financial funds are just to tempting for those who view any monies as belonging to any one who needs them. Entitlement Morality. I need/want it and it is there for the taking. It is just money. More can be printed. It is not like they are butchering babies.

educationvoiceofreason
24
Points
educationvoiceofreason 05/03/13 - 07:48 am
2
0
Why Didn't She Just Turn In An Audit?

I was a parent and now grandparent, PTA member for 15 years at Willis Foreman. I have held many PTA Officer positions as well and we have always turned in our financial records into the Richmond County PTA at the end of the school year and cut off all financial transactions in the summer. All of our audits were turned in on time to the board by September 30th, We always received good scores on our audits. So when she says PTA people resigned that is not true. Braswell helped remove the former President and Treasurer because they were doing what she is doing, spending money without the Executive Board's knowledge and permission. The former year's president went to another school and the treasurer did not want to remain in that position for another year.
What does personality conflicts have to do with doing what's right by children, it is not Ms. Braswell's money. She is trying to throw you off. Do you know how many schools have pulled out of PTA in Richmond County and went to PTO because of this lady. Don't be fooled. Check out this PTA President's former life. The internet is amazing. You can run but you can't hide. A lot of people have and she is not who you think she is. We raised this money to help the children and teachers at Willis Foreman. What gives her the right to use our money for her district events? If she has the right to write a check for 500.00 from our account at WFE, Dr. Roberson and State PTA there had better be a 500.00 check written from every PTA school account written this summer just like she did from our school. CAN SOMEONE FROM THE MEDIA CHECK THAT OUT? Who does she think she is that she doesn't have to have permission to spend a school's money to further her political ambitions. THE QUESTION REMAINS WHY DIDN'T SHE JUST TURN IN AN AUDIT AND LET THE SCHOOL AND BOARD SEE THEIR FINANCIAL?

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 05/03/13 - 08:10 am
0
0
Audits

educationvoiceofreason posted:

All of our audits were turned in on time to the board by September 30th, We always received good scores on our audits.

A real audit costs money. I hope educationvoiceofreason comes back onto this thread and answers these questions:

Who did the audits?

What were their qualifications?

What personal or financial relationships did they have with PTA officers?

What did they charge for the audits?

Who paid them?

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 05/03/13 - 08:24 am
0
0
Something smells a little
Unpublished

Something smells a little fishy here, and I don't have a rod and reel in my hand.

nocnoc
41344
Points
nocnoc 05/03/13 - 08:55 am
3
0
mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 05/03/13 - 02:06 pm
1
1
i stole the money really

there is so much more to this story than you will ever know give me 20 minutes and you will hear the truth

mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 05/03/13 - 04:09 pm
1
0
ok here it is

ok education voice of reason your right i did do that i had email from the principal saying they was stealing and spending money i talk to then i told them what to do come to training so they would know how to handle her that is the same thing she did to mrs thomas as well she said they stole when i audit both davis and handy books there was no money missing and every knew that. what i told the parent was they did not spend the money according to the budget,now yes there was 31 pta that paid the money to help by bookbags not all paid 500 but 18 did do the math the losest pta paid 250 now tell me why you felt your school should not have participate and just in case your wondering the cost of the bookbag drive with everything included food area drinks supplies socks and everything else total cost was was 34000 give or take 18 pta 500=9000 bookbags cost 14000 arena discount 5500 food 1800 sock 1100 food drink 400 900 for t shirts and more cost bottom line there where pta that didnt pay anything cause of attidude out the messenger but there school still was still service now part of pta is giving back to the community isnt the community that give to you my first i and i mean i raise 17000 by myself without any help from the pta but community business we are suppose to take care of ourselves.now also i wonder how you know im running for a school board seat you wasnt at my house when i made my announce you really believe holding money and stealing is gonna help me now you made comment about internet mam be very careful monique braswell is not that lady that been in jail or anything thing else now if you take that much to investigate why dont you put the links up i have said im an open book your someone that really dont know me but dont like me because of your friends and thats cool but on tuesday and wednsday are you gonna say sorry if they found i stole money or mishandle or used it for my personnel political gain i will do whats right i will not only pay any money but go to the sheriff a have my self arrested im sure he would love that but are you the education gonna come out and apologize for wrongly accusssing me now i have already proven the money was in the bank and the 1400 never got spent i also have proven the pattern of this principal now out side of you not liking me is there anything else oh and i did turn in the actually the last president gave it to the principal also did you work with here now who are you my name is monique braswell what your through rocks and hidding hands always seem to be the pattern of people who comment maybe you would to speak to my number is public thanks to the principal and so is my email call me or email me im will to answer any questions

joy79
8
Points
joy79 05/03/13 - 05:06 pm
2
0
What's really going on at Willis Foreman

Seems to me that their is more to the story at this school.
I heard great things that the Pta did are that school last year. My girlfriend said that the pta did a wonderful job over there. Seems to me that the principal wants to control things. She has removed the last three pta officers over there yet, their audits always came back good. Pta last year raised money for honors day and fields day and my girlfriend said that fields day was horrible. Where are the funds really going. I think the principle is on a power trip. If their are funds to be used for fields day and honors day, then it should be used for that. I would never want to be on the pta over there because it seems your getting set up to take the fall.

mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 05/03/13 - 06:51 pm
2
0
joy 79

i will be very honest mrs handy and mrs patterson gave the principal; 1500 for honors day and 1000 for fields day this is where the problem the pta wanted to purchase the stuff fields and the didnt want that ok thats when i got the call.the principal spent about 200 on bounces and 700 feeding the staff the kids had hotdogs and they had to paid the had a sock hop that was free to get in but they paid for everything else.its about control but you know whats sad the man is a fool a mean a real fool he dont want to listen to no body but dr taylor and there is 2 other people involved but they work for her so they scare to death

joy79
8
Points
joy79 05/03/13 - 07:15 pm
2
0
Msbras I get that, I just

Msbras

I get that, I just hate to see anybody who was involved in pta over there get slammed, it seems as if it wasn't the principal's way she got rid of folks. I think it was unfair for those ladies or pta members to not have proper training. It seems the principal gets personal when things don't go her way!

lddist
101
Points
lddist 05/03/13 - 08:02 pm
2
0
Just curious

Yesterday's story stated she wouldn't release funds because she needed two signatures. How many signatures were on the checks during the summer??????

mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 05/04/13 - 12:32 am
1
0
true if

she doesnt get her way just curious there were two people signing over the summer then she fired one

lddist
101
Points
lddist 05/04/13 - 07:36 am
1
0
PTA funds should not be used

PTA funds should not be used for 'county events'. Unless voted on and approved. The parents raise that money for THEIR school not everyone else's. I'll be glad if we ever know the whoe story, but it sounds like something shady was going on or someone is on a power trip. But again, to be fair, I don't know the whole story.

mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 05/05/13 - 05:30 am
0
0
Funds can be used

For county events they can't be used for politics nor anything that the school system can pay for like honors day part of our national standards to give back in the budget there is always place for misc, and that's because of things that may arise every could have benefitted from the book bag and when we go out and ask the community and they give us the money should never be used on just one thing or person of classro or group. And yes something shady does go on over there and did go on there and still going on over there but I guess you will have to wait and see when the investigation is over is that they give the full report and then you will see who the shady party or parties are but I can sayits not the past people or the people before them

mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 05/05/13 - 05:35 am
0
0
Sorry

Made a lot of spelling or missed word in In my comments trying to type on my phone from my hospital bed

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