2nd Bibb school PTO under investigation

For the second time in a week, a Bibb County school’s parent-teacher group is under investigation for the way its finances were handled.

Bibb County campus police were at Skyview Elementary School on Friday and Monday as they investigated whether Skyview PTO funds were spent on unauthorized purchases. Thousands of dollars in purchases -- perhaps $5,000 or more -- are being reviewed to see if PTO funds were spent on items not affiliated with the organization.

Stephanie Hartley, the school system’s spokeswoman, would say only that the district is investigating a report of missing funds from the Lizella school’s PTO. She couldn’t say how much money was involved or who alerted officials to the situation.

Campus Police Chief Russell Bentley said Monday he couldn’t answer specific questions about the case. Skyview Principal Sara Carlson declined comment through another school employee.

The matter apparently came to light earlier this month when Skyview parents began questioning some of the purchases. They, in turn, notified district officials, leading to the investigation.

Officials are now trying to determine which purchases were legitimate and which were not.

Steve Smith, the system’s interim superintendent, said he had not received a police report in the case but was concerned about the situation.

“I’ve initiated a systemwide task force to come up with ways to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

The allegations mark the second time in less than a week that authorities have investigated the handling of a school’s PTO funds.

Last Thursday, Bibb County sheriff’s investigators arrested Eloise Maxine Reid, 47, and charged her with stealing nearly $34,000 from the Vineville Academy PTO.

Reid, who was serving as the treasurer of the PTO, allegedly wrote at least 17 checks to herself and her accounting firm, draining $33,975 from the account.

Officials became aware of the issue when Reid wrote a bad check for $1,800. That prompted the bank to inform Vineville Academy Principal Kristy Graham that there was less than $1,000 in the account, even though it was supposed to have more than $30,000.

According to a campus police report, parents had wondered in recent months where the money was being used.