Allegations of misused funds
Arnco-Sargent PTO treasurer steps down
by Celia Shortt
The treasurer for the Parent Teacher Organization at Arnco-Sargent Elementary School in western Coweta County has stepped down after misusing organizational funds, according to officials.
Vicki L. Vaughn, principal of Arnco-Sargent, said Ashley Spisak, the PTO president, came to her in the middle of January and said their financial books were not right. Vaughn then met with Coweta County School System officials to determine how to proceed.
After going to the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office and others, the PTO determined that $5,900 was used for “inappropriate expenditures.”
“It’s very unfortunate that it happened,” said Vaughn. “The PTO is a great organization that supports us tremendously. We do want to correct procedures so this doesn’t happen again.”
Subsequently, school and PTO officials confronted the treasurer about the missing money. It was returned, and the treasurer was asked to step down. Due to the money being returned, no charges were filed. Officials did not name the treasurer.
“The school was there for leadership and as an advisory in the appropriate way to handle the situation,” said Spisak. “They’ve been very helpful.”
“We don’t want the actions of one to affect the whole group,” she added. “We’re still looking to finish out the year strong, especially with new procedures in place.”
Currently, Vaughn and Spisak are working with Coweta school system officials to create and implement better procedures, ensuring this situation does not happen again.
The PTO is an entity separate from the school and helps support Arnco-Sargent through fundraisers. It consists of a parents and others associated with the school. The money that was taken and returned did not come from the school’s budget or taxpayer dollars, but rather from private money given through the fundraisers.
Arnco-Sargent’s PTO has supported the school tremendously, according to Vaughn. Through their fundraising, they have purchased accelerated reader programs for the school, supported the art program, provided mulch for the playground, and started updating the computers. They support the teachers, employees and bus drivers.
“We are family,” said Vaughn.
The PTO is holding a called meeting on Thursday, Feb. 27 to further discuss and handle the situation. Due to the recent severe weather, they have not been able to meet since events unfolded.