TAGHKANIC N.Y. – A 46-year-old former PTO president is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from the elementary PTO fund, according to State Police.
For the rural school district of about 1,500 students, having more than $20,000 stolen from their elementary Parent-Teacher-Organization fund means a lot. The lost money also means lost opportunities, which has many parents upset.
Amanda Leipman is one of those parents, and also a teacher in Taconic Hills School District.
"It's upsetting that someone would be willing to take that money away from the children – that it was raised to help," she said.
Police arrested and charged Roberta Dalrymple with Grand Larceny after a six-month investigation. They said she stole more than $20,000 between 2011 and 2013 from the elementary PTO fund while she was treasurer and president of the organization.
Superintendent Dr. Neil Howard Jr. said, "I'm concerned that maybe some opportunities for education have been taken away."
Howard said elementary PTO officers first approached him with concerns about the money.
"What was considered some irregularities or maybe some inappropriate use of the funds," he explained.
The elementary PTO is a separate entity from the school district meaning tax dollars do not contribute to its fund.
"It is coming from local individuals who believe that they are contributing to the educational opportunity of the students," Howard explained.
The Superintendent said that since Dalrymple has left the PTO, new polices have been put in place to help safeguard the funds.
"I'm confident that the new leadership has implemented the necessary actions so this doesn't happen in the future," he said.
Police said there are still other charges pending in the case. Dalrymple is set to appear in Greenport Court to face her charges.