Other NJ News

Little Falls PTA Board Members Step Down After Funds Go Missing

af23b5e41e23bfdbfb38_LFPTA1.jpg
Over 120 attendees were present at last night's School No. 2 and No. 3 PTA meeting, many of whom sought information about alleged missing funds earmarked for student activities. Credits: Tina Pappas
0b0ecd3d3ed41dc077c9_LFPTA2.jpg
Parents filled the gym at School No. 2 looking for answers as to missing funds from the Little Falls School No. 2 and School No. 3 student activities account. Credits: Tina Pappas
af23b5e41e23bfdbfb38_LFPTA1.jpg

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Over 120 local parents and guardians filled the gymnasium at School No. 2 during last night's School No. 2 and No. 3 Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting. The board addressed allegations of missing funds which were earmarked for student activities. It was also announced that the PTA board treasurer and budget and finance committee chairperson had stepped down from their positions.

The discovery was made last month by Janelle Binetti, PTA president, after a financial audit was conducted. Binetti addressed attendees during the evening, but stated she could not answer any questions due to the ongoing investigation. She confirmed at the beginning of the meeting that the PTA is starting the school year off with a zero balance, in lieu of a certain amount of funds that was held in the organization's bank account.

Also present was Rose Acerra, New Jersey Parent Teacher Association (NJPTA) president, who confirmed that an investigation is currently underway involving missing funds that were in that account from the prior school year. Cathy Lindenbaum, NJPTA president-elect, and Dawn Gonzalez, region 1 PTA director for Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Sussex counties, accompanied Acerra at the meeting.

Sign Up for E-News

Acerra explained during that the state PTA board typically assists local PTA boards with training, putting policies in place. She said procedures should include a checks and balances system, and ensuring a treasurer's report is produced, with two signatures required on every check. She confirmed that Little Falls PTA board members did follow proper procedures for their finances.

"I want to assure all of you that this PTA did follow protocol," Acerra added.

Those in attendance were given spreadsheet of the breakdown of the income account for the 2017-2018 proposed budget, which showed a zero balance for cash on hand. 

Binetti confirmed that the the PTA board treasurer and the budget and finance committee chairperson, have stepped down from their positions. Their names are being withheld as the investigation is ongoing by the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office

"On behalf of the PTA board, I am upset and saddened as to the events that have transpired," said Binetti. "Due to the fact that it's an open investigation, I cannot answer any questions."

Binetti also stated that the previous account where the missing funds were held was recently closed and that a new account has been opened, which would entail a new policy, with training for those who would hold board positions. Binetti added that she hoped that the PTA would still receive support from the district's parent community and give children "the year they deserve."

She then directed those with questions to contact the prosecutor's office, who is handling the investigation. She then requested those volunteering for committees for the new school year to step forward. She also said going forward, the organization will have role clarification for each board position, including committee chairpersons. 

Several parents spoke up during the meeting. One parent criticized the board that no one realized sooner that a large sum was missing prior to the audit. Binetti asked the parent to address the question to the PCPO. Another parent asked about procedural by-laws that members should have access to, which one board member stated were available online. Another parent asked if the resignation of the PTA treasurer and budget and finance committee chairperson was voluntarily.

"They did step down voluntarily, however, they would have been asked to resign had they attended the present meeting," Binetti noted.

Acerra told attendees that she has had to visit other districts in the state, whose parent-teacher organizations experienced similar situations.

"I've seen this before but as long as you all support your PTA board, at the end of the day, it will all end up in a good position," she said. "But cross your fingers that the money comes back."

Kathy Pocius, district parent and PTA member, expressed her sentiments after the meeting.

"I hope for a positive outcome as many of us are," she said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Verona/Cedar Grove

Students Demand Action to host 'Day of Action' on Columbine Anniversary at Brookdale Park

April 18, 2018

Students Demand Action Essex County will host “April 20 Day of Action: Gun Reform Education Fair” to educate and inform local students about the need for gun reform in our nation, inspire them to be activists, and honor the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

The April 20 event will take place in at Brookdale Park (lower field by Bellevue entrance) in ...

Cedar Grove Police Blotter

April 16, 2018

April 8, 2018 – April 15, 2018

On April 9, 2018 at 7:50 a.m., Ptl. Jason Rivers responded to a Cedar Street address to take a report of a stolen motor vehicle. The vehicle was stolen from the driveway during the overnight hours. Patrolman Rivers was able to locate the vehicle using an application installed by the dealer on the owner’s phone. Detectives responded to that area in ...

Montville Residents & Twp Committee Ask for Resignation of Committeewoman over Facebook Post

April 15, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee voted to censure Committee Member June Witty for a personal Facebook post she made on April 8 which compared Democrats to Nazis. All four members of the five-person committee asked for her resignation.

The post, a chart which states that Nazis believed in “media mind control,” “no guns,” abortion, and ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Wed, April 25, 7:30 PM

Cedar Grove Public Library , Cedar Grove

The Bellevue Theater: Fade to Black or double ...

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, April 26, 4:00 PM

Alzheimer's NJ Headquarters, Roseland

Alzheimer's 101

Education

Cedar Grove Celebrates Arbor Day

April 24, 2018

CEDAR GROVE, NJ - For Arbor Day again this year, apple trees will be planted at Morgan's Farm.  Please come out to join in a community tree planting event.  Volunteers are asked to please bring shovels.  We’re watching the Apple Orchard grow!

The Township Manager, Thomas Tucci will welcome the volunteers, followed by a flag salute led by Cedar Grove ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...