HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — Denisha Hunter donates to several fundraisers a year at Ray Elementary School in Hutto, and some of her hard-earned money goes to the PTA.
“To my understanding, it’s supposed to go back to the school for new supplies, books, different things for the students,” Hunter said.
But, that didn’t happen for at least six months, when police say Clinton Rapp and his wife Natalie Hudson-Rapp stole $16,000 from the PTA account. Court documents say the two wrote 31 checks to themselves starting last December. At the time, Hudson-Rapp was PTA vice president.
“Stealing money from the kids is very disheartening and untrustworthy,” Hunter said. “It’s not fair to us as parents, working single families, or even married working families, because at this time, everyone needs help. So to give money and it’s not going in the right place, is very disappointing.”
Hudson-Rapp told investigators she bought classroom supplies and reimbursed her husband, but detectives say she had no proof and none of the purchases were authorized. In fact, detectives say many of the checks had forged signatures of other board members.
Public records for Williamson County show Clinton Rapp has faced theft charges in the past. In 2009 he was charged with theft of property by check, and in 2011 he was charged with theft of service by check. In 2010, Hudson-Rapp was charged with theft of property by check.
The district released this statement Saturday night:
A former Ray Elementary School PTA board member and her husband were arrested Friday and charged with committing theft against the organization. The couple allegedly stole more than $15,000 according to court records. The former board member was immediately removed from her position on the board after the alleged theft was discovered.
PTA organizations are 501(c)(3) non-profits run by volunteers from the schools they represent. The volunteers are generally parents of students in the school. The volunteers are run through the same background check process as all other district volunteers and must be approved as district volunteers. The arrested board member passed the district’s background check and volunteer approval process. Her husband was not a member of the PTA nor a registered volunteer within the district.
Local PTA chapters report to the state PTA organization. Hutto ISD staff members are prohibited from serving on PTA boards and are not allowed to touch PTA funds.
Although PTA is not run by Hutto ISD, the district recognizes the great value the organization brings to each school. Members of PTA and the many volunteers within each campus chapter pour countless hours and money into the organization to help support the students and staff of the schools.
Hutto ISD will do all it can to support the work of the Hutto Police Department as it continues its investigation into the alleged crime against the Ray PTA. Hutto ISD has been in touch with the state PTA for direction on how to help the local Ray chapter as they recover from the theft of funds.
Questions regarding the investigation should be directed to the Hutto Police Department.