School PTA Moving on After Conviction of Former Treasurer
Jul 02, 2015 08:03PM ● Published by Steven Jack
Photo courtesy of sd308.org
More than a year after stealing $4,000 from the Boulder Hill Elementary School PTA, its former treasurer pleaded guilty this week to felony theft charges in Kendall County Court.
Meredith Henry, 37, who now lives in Cook County, reached a plea deal with the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s Office June 29 that will allow her to avoid jail time. Instead, Henry has been ordered to immediately pay full restitution and $2,500 in court costs. She also will remain on probation for two years and complete 45 hours of community service.
“Our biggest concern here was that she immediately pay restitution, and that’s why this plea agreement was reached” said State’s Attorney Eric Weis. “In the grand scheme of things it was important that the organization get their money back as quickly as possible so they could continue to function.”
Henry was arrested April 8, 2014 at her home in Plainfield after a Kendall County Crimestoppers bulletin was issued asking for the public’s help in finding her. The theft was discovered in the months leading up to the arrest by the organization’s treasurer who had taken over after Henry left the position.
“This has been such a horrible thing that has happened here,” said Jeni Collura, the current Boulder Hill PTA president. “We’re very happy this is behind us, but it’s been difficult.”
Collura said the missing funds created an “extreme deficit” for the PTA, and the organization’s board and volunteers has spent the past year raising more money and rebuilding trust with its members, parents, staff and school administrators.
“We were completely blindsided by this,” Collura said. “This is a Title 1 school, and we had reached the point where board members were starting to pay for things out of their own pockets. We’re not a school where money is easily accessible for all parents, so we had to work really really hard to rebuild that trust that donations were going to be safe.”
At this point, Collura said the PTA has yet to see the restitution check brokered in Henry’s plea deal, but she’s hoping it shows up soon. In the mean time, the organization’s membership won’t be deterred from their mission of providing valuable learning materials and supplies for students.
“Our attitude has been “’It happened and we can’t stay in a negative mode about this. We have to move ahead,’” Collura said.