Authorities investigate alleged embezzlement of PTA funds

SAN DIEGO -- The Imperial Beach Charter School Parent-Teacher Association is asking the community for financial help after a former board member allegedly stole thousands of dollars from the fund.

PTA President Amber Vissuet told FOX 5 the organization is out more than $20,000.

“I discovered it in January when the previous treasurer let me know that there was money unaccounted for, and so then she reached out to me and then her and I together, we started contacting all the vendors that we previously used to see if the invoices were paid and we found out they were not,” Vissuet said.

Vissuet said the missing funds were not only supposed to be used to pay vendors but also pay for field trip buses, computer program licenses, classroom supplies and fun activities.

“Even the beginning of the school year, for this year, we didn’t have any funds. We would usually have a welcome barbecue for the families and have some type of a welcome party and we weren’t able to do anything like that. We weren’t able to have a carnival at the end of last school year,” Elizabeth McKay, the PTA's treasurer, said.

McKay adds that because they were not able to pay for the bus rides, field trips were also canceled last school year.

Read the PTA's statement here

“Everybody, it affected everybody,” Daisy Lizarraga, a student, said. “A lot of kids got sad because it affected what they were looking forward to."  

“Once I [heard] from my mom that all those things were canceled it made me really sad and upset,” Lizarraga's little sister Lilly said. “Why would a lady who has kids at this school take away that money and that chance for kids who have never gone on field trips like that?"

Parents are now coming together to build a stronger and transparent organization and they are asking the community to stand beside them.

“Everyone’s gun-shy about supporting the PTA because they’re afraid it’s going to happen again and they’re afraid to support us and now is when we need the most support,” Vissuet said. 

The San Diego County Sheriff's Office is investigating the alleged embezzlement case. Investigators say at this time no one has been arrested and no charges have been filed.

If you would like to help the IB Charter School PTA, members say they are accepting online and in-person donations.