Campaign started to raise funds for PTA

More than $60,000 stolen

treasurer charged in theft

Hampstead

July 31, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Carroll County's PTAs and PTOs are expected to donate money to help the Hampstead Elementary association pay for pupil enrichment programs and activities, after the theft of more than $60,000 from the school's PTA fund.

Members of Friendship Valley PTO are organizing the fund drive, enlisting the county's 30 other parent-teacher organizations to ensure Hampstead's programs don't skip a beat. Police charged Hampstead's PTA treasurer, John N. Biggs Jr., with the theft of more than $60,000 in the association's funds this month.

Insurance will cover part of the missing money, but a deficit looms for the elementary school attended by 620 children. As at other schools, Hampstead pupils helped raise much of the money through the sale of candles and basket bingos.

"This was a no-brainer for us and nobody even questioned that it was the right thing to do," said Mindy Wade, Friendship Valley PTO treasurer. "Everybody works so hard to put money back into our schools, all to benefit our children. It is the children who have experienced the loss. This is all about them."

Friendship Valley will donate $200 to the cause and is encouraging other schools to contribute similar amounts. Parents at the Westminster elementary have written letters to their Carroll counterparts asking for donations to help Hampstead get back on track.

"I would like to say that all the schools will participate," Wade said. " ... I think everyone would pitch in."

The letter says contributions of $100 will "let students, parents, teachers and the school community know that the county is filled with kind people who care."

Charles I. Ecker, Carroll superintendent of schools, echoed those sentiments.

"It is wonderful that the PTAs and PTOs want to help one another," Ecker said. "I'm sure it means a great deal to the Hampstead group."

Hampstead parents are determined to move on from the loss and continue with school traditions, such as breakfast with Santa, the winter festival and birthday books for every pupil - all funded by the school PTA.

Donna Lyons, president of the Hampstead PTA, was unaware of the letter, but said, "This is really nice."

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