NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some Queens fifth graders may not be getting the graduation they had been working toward because their parents say money was mishandled by the school’s Parent Teacher Association.
Parents of the 170 fifth graders at P.S. 117 claim their kids may have to go without the sendoff they’d been expecting in June because $30,000 is missing from the school’s PTA account, handled by last school year’s PTA leaders.
“Mismanaged, $30,000 that happened from the previous PTA,” parent Ethel Yepes told CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell. “Things that we’re missing are the yearbook, no cap and gowns.”
“I was furious, furious,” parent Nicole Lopez said. “My son wants a cap and gown. He wants a party. He wants everything that a normal graduating kid would want.”
But the ex-PTA president, who many parents are blaming, claims no money is missing. He said their fundraising just came up short.
“We have an after-school program and children that used to come didn’t come to the after school program,” former PTA president Howard Slewett said. “We made events that can hold 400 people and only two people showed up, so we planned to make the money and we didn’t get the participation we hoped.”
The Department of Education would only say that “the matter is still under investigation.”
Parents say because of that ongoing investigation, the PTA is prohibited from fundraising.
“I know there’s rules and regulations, but someone up high has got to say, ‘we have an investigation but let’s not let these kids be penalized for other people’s mistakes and wrongdoings,'” said current PTA co-president Lillian Robert.
For now, all the parents say they can do is find a way to collect donations, hoping that they can pull off a graduation their fifth graders will remember.
The school’s principal met with some of the parents Friday morning and told them she is trying to guarantee that the students will get their graduation dance.
The principal did not return a phone call from CBS 2 for comment.
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