Thursday, January 18, 2018
Public safety

Former Springhead Elementary School PTA treasurer charged with stealing more than $16,000

PLANT CITY — A PTA treasurer at an elementary school allegedly stole thousands of dollars meant for after-school programs and school supplies, police say.

Lakeland police arrested Lisa Shirah, 34, of Plant City on Friday, charging her with bilking the PTA at Springhead Elementary School near Plant City out of more than $16,000 while serving as treasurer.

She forged PTA checks requiring two signatures, then directed the checks to her personal bank account or cashed them, police said. Shirah served as PTA treasurer from January until July 26. Before that, she served as president. Shirah faces 16 charges, including fraud, forgery and larceny, according to jail reports. The bank where the transactions occurred was in Lakeland, police said.

Linda Cobbe, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County School District, said the school's principal, Ann Rushing, became concerned when Shirah seemed reluctant to hand over a checkbook linked to the PTA's account.

When finally examined by Rushing and PTA officers, the checkbook revealed a balance of $576 but should have shown $25,000. Rushing called police on Aug. 2.

"The disappointing thing about this is she's stealing from kids," Cobbe said. "This is money that is used for student incentives, special programs, after-school programs and school supplies."

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