Former school board member Deanna Lovell is charged with stealing $3,000 in Cornish.
A former school board member of Maine School Administrative District 55 has been indicted on a charge of stealing thousands of dollars from an elementary school parent-teacher organization.
Deanna M. Lovell, 40, of Parsonsfield, was indicted this month on a single count of theft by unauthorized taking for allegedly stealing about $3,000 from the account of the Cornish Elementary School Parent Teacher Committee. Lovell served as president of the parent-teacher organization.
Lovell resigned from the board on Tuesday.
Superintendent Carl Landry said district officials first heard of concerns about the financial condition of the PTC late in November 2013.
The PTC is a separate organization from the district, and school officials have no control over its accounting practices.
“Because our kids were involved, we felt compelled to investigate the allegations,” Landry said. “We concluded the PTC’s accounting practices were inadequate.”
Lisa Johnson, a member of the PTC, said committee members went to school officials as soon as they discovered money was missing from their account in October.
She said after a monthlong investigation, the school district administration told PTC members what accounting practices they should adopt, but did little else in response to the allegations against Lovell.
“The administration at SAD 55, as well as the school board, have known about this investigation since last November and never even suspended Ms. Lovell from the school board, never mentioned it to the public and allowed Ms. Lovell to sit on the board making crucial decisions about school closing (and) budgets that were highly controversial,” she said.
Landry said school officials notified the PTC, school board, district attorney and law enforcement of their findings.
The school district’s attorney advised Landry that there were no legal grounds to remove Lovell from the board unless she missed three consecutive meetings.
Chief Deputy William King of the York County Sheriff’s Office said the police investigation began in December 2013 after they were informed the organization’s bank account had a lower balance than it should have.
“We reviewed the bank records and found it was low,” King said.
David Bower, the deputy clerk in Parsonsfield, said the town was notified Tuesday by the MSAD 55 that Lovell had resigned from the school board, but said Lovell had not notified the town.
Lovell’s term was set to expire in 2015.
A message left at Lovell’s home was not returned Wednesday.
MSAD 55 includes the towns of Baldwin, Cornish, Hiram, Parsonsfield and Porter. Cornish Elementary School closed in June and students from that town will go to South Hiram Elementary School.
Theft by unauthorized taking or transfer is a Class C crime punishable by up to five years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: