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Wolcott police investigating mishandling of PTO funds by teacher

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WOLCOTT — Police confirmed Monday an investigation into the mishandling of PTO funds by a teacher.

One man said a family member of his attends one of the elementary schools and he said it has been nothing but a good experience for them.

"One thing that happened or two things that happened, I can't really detract all the good things they've done here. I'm sure the community would be very supportive," said David Opotzner of Wolcott.

Wolcott Police Chief Ed Stephens said Monday his department is investigating allegations involving the mishandling of PTO funds at one of the elementary schools.

The staff member under investigation is confirmed to have been an elementary school teacher.

Police have not stated which elementary school the teacher worked at, who they are, and how much money was involved.

On Sunday, Wolcott Superintendent of Schools Tony Gasper emailed parents to let them know of an issue:

Hello Wolcott Families & Staff,

I’d like to inform you, to the degree that I can, of a very serious matter for our school district.  In the near future, you should expect to see press coverage of a matter involving one of our teachers.  Because this is a personnel matter and also an active police investigation, I am not able to give you a full description but I do want to assure you of some important details:

  1. The matter in no way involves any threat to student safety or well-being.
  2. The matter in no way involves Board of Education funds.
  3. The matter did not have a negative impact on students’ work in the classroom.

I realize that a message like this can be disconcerting but I want to assure you that the Board of Education, school administrators, the full staff, and I are committed to ensuring a safe, productive, and nurturing learning environment for all of our students.

In partnership,

Tony Gasper, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools

A father FOX 61 spoke to said he was very disappointed to learn a teacher in the community would do something like this.

"You send your kids to school thinking you know, they have these after-school programs, they raise money for it and then somebody's taking it for their own personal benefit, it's not good," said Rocco Cipriano of Wolcott.

Stephens said the department is investigating and “will see where it leads.” The teacher has resigned according to Stephens.

"It's not good at all. People try to raise money for people and help others out or for kids and you got people stealing," added Cipriano.

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