Mismanagement of Funds/Embezzlement

Mismanagement of funds refers to the potential loss or misuse of PTA funds and raises questions about the integrity of the individual(s) in charge of the PTA funds. PTA funds are protected by following correct financial procedures. Each member of the PTA executive board has a fiduciary responsibility (required by the IRS of all nonprofits) to safeguard the association’s assets and potentially clear the individuals who may be involved.

There are several signs of possible mismanagement: lack of receipts and/or treasurer’s reports; payments made in cash rather than by check; missed meetings by financial officers; and unanswered phone calls or mail. However, these are merely signs, not proof of wrongdoing, so be discreet. Do not make any implicit, explicit, oral or written statements or accusations. Such actions could result in a lawsuit for libel or slander.

Notify the district PTA president or California State PTA vice president for leadership services and/or state treasurer. With guidance from one or more of these PTA leaders review the information, and determine the appropriate course of action. Specific PTA procedures are outlined in the California State PTA Advanced Leadership Tools, which is available to council and district PTAs.

Possible mismanagement/embezzlement of PTA funds is a PTA responsibility and therefore, PTA policies and procedures must be followed. The principal or other school district personnel shall not determine or take any other course of action for the PTA.

Do not make a direct accusation. Do not accept any offer of direct repayment from an individual, unless payment of the full audited amount is to be made with cash, certified check or money order. It is important to report the loss to the district PTA and insurance broker right away.

Embezzlement, the stealing of money entrusted into one’s care by means of fraud for one’s own use, is considered to be the same as theft under the law. Theft in any form is a violation of the law and should be handled as a serious offense. If money is stolen from an individual’s car or property, a police report should be filed immediately and contact made with the individual’s insurance company to determine coverage.

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