PTA president charged with theft in Edwards
Edwards, CO Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado ” The president of PTA at an Edwards, Colorado elementary school is facing theft charges from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office for allegedly writing checks when she wasn’t authorized to do so, a report from the Sheriff’s Office says.
Deputies arrested Bianca Guzman on Feb. 26, shortly after June Creek Elementary School’s PTA treasurer noticed that three checks were written without authorization. Checks require two signatures, principal Tracy Barber said in the sheriff’s report.
Barber also said in the report that Guzman had “no reason” to write the checks herself. The two had sat down the night earlier to sign checks together, the report said. Three checks, totaling more than $9,000, were not among them.
The Sheriff’s report says Guzman wrote checks for $200, $2,737, and $6,675 for a total of $9,612. Guzman admitted to Barber that she cashed a check in Vail a few days prior to being found out, the sheriff’s report says.
The sheriff’s report was unclear on where all the money from the checks went, but Barber told Guzman to return the money to the account within 24 hours. The sheriff’s report didn’t say whether Guzman did.
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She asked Barber to keep it a secret, but Barber had already notified the school district and Sheriff’s Office.
Eagle County School District Director of Communications, Brooke Skjonsby, said she doesn’t know how much money was in the PTA fund prior to when Guzman wrote the checks. None of the money missing affects the district or school’s budget, she said.
“We want the community to know this is not taxpayer dollars. It’s not a district account,” Skjonsby said.
PTA money is a separate account that is maintained by different sources of fundraising, she added.
Skjonsby said the district was shocked to learn the news that Guzman had written the checks.
“From our perspective, it’s a really unfortunate situation. It was an unforeseen situation,” she said. “Unfortunately, it is what it is.”
Skjonsby wasn’t aware of any disciplinary action pending against Guzman because she isn’t an employee of the school district.
“This is in the sheriff’s hands,” she said.
Guzman faces charges of theft from the Sheriff’s Office and is out of jail on a $5,000 bond.
When Barber found out what Guzman had done, she told Guzman that she was “Stealing from the kids,” the sheriff’s report said. Guzman told Barber that wasn’t her intent.
No other school officials or PTA members were available for comment Tuesday and all correspondence is being handled through the district office.
“It’s unfortunate and it’s awful,” Skjonsby said. “We hope that this never happens again and she’s dealt with accordingly.”
Guzman will appear in Eagle County court at 9 a.m. on March 10 to answer the theft charges.
Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.