Friday, February 08, 2002

PTO treasurer expected to surrender to police

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MONROE — The treasurer of Monroe Elementary School's Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is expected to turn herself in to police today after being charged in connection with about $16,000 that is missing.

        A fourth-degree felony-theft count against Carrie Hubbard, 33, of Monroe, was filed Thursday by Monroe Police in Butler County's Area III court in West Chester Township.

        If convicted, Mrs. Hubbard faces a fine of up to $5,000, a prison term of six to 18 months, and/or supervision for up to five years by the county's probation department.

        Detective Michael Staples said that over the past year or so, Mrs. Hubbard kept the PTO's cash for personal use instead of depositing it into the organization's bank account.

        She has been treasurer of the PTO since September 2000. Detective Staples said Mrs. Hubbard had no prior record.

        She did not return phone calls seeking comment.

        “Mrs. Hubbard said she was very sorry and made a huge mistake,” Detective Staples said. “She said she would pay it back.”

        Monroe Principal Patti Shull said suspicions were raised late last fall when she started receiving calls and bills from creditors who hadn't been paid. She was told the matter would be taken care of.

        But when Mrs. Shull in late January again began receiving past-due bills, she contacted the bank, and was told there was only a few hundred dollars left in the PTO account, instead of the $16,000 or more she expected. Mrs. Shull went to police Wednesday.

        “We never expected or suspected anything until the last couple of months,” said Mrs. Shull.

        Parents Jeff and Sue Goodpaster said they were surprised.

        “I'm in shock. I pray that it is a mistake or that somehow it is worked out,” Mrs. Goodpaster said.

        The PTO operates a school bookstore and uses proceeds from it and other fund-raisers to provide materials for teachers, pay for special events and to buy needed items for the schools.

        David Eck contributed to this report.


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