President of the Parents and Teachers of Sonoma (PATS), Natalie Gutierrez, and Vice President Krista McKinnon sent home a letter with Sonoma Heights Elementary School students informing parents that they were aware of a “misappropriation” of the organization’s funds.
According to the letter, PATS became aware of the missing funds at the close of the 2018-2019 school year.
The organization notified the Humboldt County School District and “based upon these conversations [with the district], we were advised to contact Winnemucca Police Department.”
The organization has begun an investigation.
The letter states that this issue will be an agenda item at all future PATS meetings until the matter is resolved. The letter also states that as long as the investigation is active, information may be limited.
The letter did not state how much was missing from the account nor the person’s name; however, Humboldt County School District Superintendent Dr. Dave Jensen confirmed the person has resigned her position. The person in question had been a substitute aide for the district and that the district has severed its relationship with her.
In addition, Dr. Jensen released the following statement, “I would like to express my appreciation to the PATS leadership for immediately notifying Sonoma administration and District office personnel when the misappropriation of funds was discovered. Though PTA funds are separate from district funds and are managed by parent leaders from the organization, the collective commitment to support our students provided incentive for the district to provide guidance during this challenging time. We are confident that all misappropriations have ceased and encouraged reporting this incident to local law enforcement for investigation, which was immediately completed. We are confident that procedures have been implemented that will preclude any such further activity in the future.”
The Sun has reached out to President Gutierrez but she had not responded by press time.
The Sun will continue to monitor this situation and have updates as they become available.