The former treasurer for Olympias Roosevelt Elementary School PTA was sentenced to 30 days in jail Thursday for stealing nearly $15,000 from the PTAs PayPal accounts over two years.
Aleta Taylor, 40, has paid back the $14,965 she stole. Taylor, who now lives in Idaho, was the treasurer from 2007-09 and in 2010-11. Her husband, Paul, was the schools PTA treasurer in 2009-10.
Taylor was sentenced as part of an earlier plea deal; she tearfully apologized during her sentencing before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy. She said she had always planned to repay the money, but it became like an addictive habit. She said she was pregnant and going through personal problems, including her husbands job loss, when she took the money.
Id just like to say to the PTA first, Im so sorry for what I did, she said, adding, I regret everything I did.
Current Roosevelt PTA President Ann Bowers also addressed Murphy before Taylors sentencing, describing PTA members disappointment when Taylor told them their fundraising efforts had fallen short by $10,000. It turned out Taylor was lying in an attempt to hide her crimes, Bowers said.
The stolen money would have gone to support the schools library, she said. Bowers also talked of the PTAs frantic efforts to earn the money back through additional fundraising efforts that eventually were successful.
PTA member Desi Saylors has said that the stolen money was raised by parents and students through efforts such as read-athons, auctions, garage sales and cookie dough sales. The PTAs annual operating budget has averaged about $38,000 over the past five years, Saylors said in November.
Bowers asked Murphy to impose the jail time even though Taylor has repaid the money.
Lets be perfectly clear, Bowers said. Aleta stole from our children.
The PTA has established checks and balances to prevent unauthorized withdrawals from the PTAs accounts, Bowers said.
According to Taylors charging documents:
In October 2009, former Roosevelt PTA Vice President Christopher White raised concerns about Taylors free reign and lack of accountability while managing PTA finances. In September 2010, Saylors, then the PTAs vice president, expressed concern that there hadnt been a financial review in two years. The Washington State PTAs bylaws require that every PTA conduct a financial review at the end of each fiscal year.
In June 2011, Saylors ordered Taylor to run through all PTA financial records, and the thefts were found.
Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mark Thompson said Thursday that Taylor simply stole from her friends and her school, and that there was nothing accidental about it.
Murphy told Taylor she hopes she can move on from this chapter in her life but added, its criminal behavior, nothing less than that.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445