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Police explore missing money from school's PTA

– Fort Wayne police are investigating a local elementary school's PTA accounts after an audit revealed a large amount of money was unaccounted for.

According to a police report, two volunteers were assisting with an annual audit at Arlington Elementary, 8118 St. Joe Center Road, when they discovered a "very large amount of money" was missing.

The volunteers told police they had a large amount of paperwork and other evidence to support their findings, as well as a suspect.

Tina Hartman, Indiana PTA state and local relations chair who was one of the volunteers at Arlington Elementary, said Tuesday that the name of the suspect and the dollar amount would not be released until the investigation was complete.

"The principal had expressed some concerns, so we took possession of the books and performed the audit," Hartman said.

The audits are completed each year, she said. The most recent audit spanned from July 2012 to June 2013.

Hartman said she has served Indiana PTA for about 15 years and has never experienced a theft situation before.

"I think that speaks volumes about our training with local units and the work our people are doing," she said.

Krista Stockman, Fort Wayne Community Schools spokeswoman, said the district was disappointed to learn about the theft.

Stockman said each school has its own PTA group and is required to use the PTA program specifically because it has a large amount of oversight at the local, state and national level.

"Our PTAs are filled with great people and the vast majority of people get involved with PTA because they want to help the school, their kids and other kids. People typically aren't doing it to get anything for themselves," Stockman said.

During Monday's FWCS school board meeting, Fort Wayne area PTA Council President Kathie Green told board members that the annual audits had recently been completed.

"We do not like what we're facing right now in one of our schools," Green said.

Green also told the board about a program to train PTA treasurers about best practices in finance.

The training will be conducted on Sept. 19 and 24 and will include lessons in double-counting, filing the proper forms and balancing checkbooks.