$5,675 of book fair money deposited months later, RR PTA board member voted off, Report filed with Travis County Sheriff

By CASSIE MCKEE, Four Points News

Following the fall River Ridge Elementary book fair, more than $5,600 of proceeds were not deposited into the PTA’s bank account until months later, after the discrepancy had been discovered by PTA board members.

PTA Board President Christina Morales said that on April 7, upon realizing the discrepancy, the PTA board closed the books, limiting access to the account, so that a Financial Reconciliation Committee could conduct an investigation.

“On April 7, the 4th VP of Fundraising was informed that the books were closed, and that the PTA did not have access to the account,” Morales said. “The VP went to the bank and deposited a personal check in the amount of $6,544.29. The following day, the VP was removed from the bank account. The board met on Friday, April 11. We then appointed the Reconciliation Committee, and voted unanimously to remove the 4th VP of Fundraising (from the board).”

Morales said while the board realized the discrepancy in early April, members did not know the exact number that had been missing until Friday, April 25, when the results of the  Financial Reconciliation Committee investigation were released.

Part of the reason the discrepancy was not discovered sooner, she said, was because of an accounting issue, in which both the fall and spring book fairs were listed as the same line item in the budget, rather than two separate items. Morales said that has now been corrected.

On Friday, the  Financial Reconciliation Committee told the board that the missing amount had been $5,675. The board shared the findings with the general membership at a PTA meeting on Monday, April 28. She noted that because of the deposit made in early April, the account is not short any funds.

“It looks like we are actually in the plus,” she said.

Morales said it is standard procedure for a Financial Reconciliation Committee to analyze the budget at the end of each school year and make recommendations for improvement. The committee will look at the budget again once the school year has ended.

“As far as the recommendations, we take them very seriously and we plan to implement them as of today,” Morales said Monday.

While the board has not made any criminal allegations, a report was filed with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office on Monday so that the office could investigate the matter further if it chooses to do so. Reports will also be filed with Leander ISD and the Texas PTA.

“We have contacted every authority and we are taking every step possible of the recommendations of the Financial Reconciliation Committee to move forward,” Morales said.

The committee made the following recommendations, which were announced at the meeting on Monday.

  • River Ridge standing rules state, “All money shall be counted by at least two persons at the same time, and all counters shall sign a completed itemized receipt form. The money shall then be given to the treasurer, who shall also count and sign the itemized receipt form. All signers of the form shall retain a copy of this form.” This procedure should be followed at all times.
  • The treasurer should be the only board member depositing money.
  • Obtain original bank statements from bank with check images, so dual check signing can be verified and non-signer review can be done more easily and accurately. Additionally, the non-signing reviewer needs to be consistent throughout the year. The president should appoint a reviewer and the choice should be designated in the minutes.
  • Bank statements should be reconciled in a timely manner, so that discrepancies can be addressed in an appropriate time frame.
  • Proper financial reports should be delivered at each meeting and need to be included in the minutes – at minimum, beginning and ending balances for the time period. A suggested format for these reports can be found in the Texas PTA Treasurer’s Resource Guide.
  • Sales tax and state portions of membership dues should be accounted for in escrow accounts. These balances should be reported on the financial reports.
  • Declare tax free days in meeting minutes prior to event occurring.
  • All disbursements must be made by check with two signatures. No cash withdrawals should be done from PTA accounts.
  • There should be no items set aside outside the budget. Long-term items should be listed in the current year’s budget and voted on by membership annually.
  • The budget should be amended regularly to account for expense/income overages. Amendments must be approved by the general membership and documented in the minutes. Documentation should include members making the motion and vote counts of membership.
  • Review of standing rules recommends that PTA remove requirements for Past President to be a signer.