Williamson County School officials and law enforcement are investigating an apparent case of embezzlement after thousands of dollars were reported missing from a school’s Parent Teacher Organization fund.
Officials said upwards of $20,000 was reported missing from Hillsboro Elementary and Middle school’s PTO account last week.
The alleged theft was discovered after a check for 21 laptop computers for students bounced.
“[It’s] very disheartening. We are sick to our stomachs, actually,” said PTO president-elect Jennifer Smith.
The money was privately raised last year during the school’s fall fest fundraiser called Barnaroo.
Williamson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney told News 2 the school district is assisting the PTO with an internal audit.
He also said the school district has no oversight when it comes to any school’s PTO funds.
“It’s a completely separate entity and body and so they have their own account. We provide them guidance and best practices,” said Dr. Looney.
Dr. Looney said parent donations are a common practice for many public schools throughout the country; even for Williamson County schools.
He said many people have the misconception that the school district has more money than they know what to do with it.
“It’s true that this is generally a wealthy community, but it’s also true that our tax rate is exceedingly low and what that means is fewer dollars go to on to public schools from the taxpayers and we count on our parents that have kids in schools to make up the difference,” said Dr. Looney.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Department and the State Comptroller’s Office are both investigating the missing funds.