Florida PTA struggles to recover from embezzlement

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From the Tampa Bay Times:

PLANT CITY — The Springhead Elementary School PTA pays for everything from student achievement awards to graduation banquets for fifth-graders to field trips to family movie nights.

Most years, the group puts aside thousands of dollars to cover costs. Not this year.

The group is entering the school year with a $2,500 deficit after what Lakeland police describe was a five-month embezzlement scheme by the PTA’s former treasurer, Lisa Shirah, 34, to rake in thousands in PTA funds. Shirah, a Plant City resident, was arrested Sept. 7 and faces numerous counts of forgery, uttering a forged instrument, grand theft and scheming to defraud.

The 140-member Springhead PTA has since tightened its fiscal controls and insists it’s moving ahead with programs. But the group is mulling a future without seed money and concedes that some events might be scaled back.

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