Joint Press Release: Mattoon Police Department and Mattoon Community Unit School District #2 February 10, 2011 Mattoon school officials and the Mattoon Police Department investigated the alleged theft of an undetermined amount of money from the PTA fund that supports Riddle Elementary School. The missing money, which was in the possession of PTA president Mary Farris, was earned during a fundraiser hosted by the PTA in August and September, 2010. Mattoon School Superintendent Larry Lilly said the PTA is a separate and independent organization with its own bylaws and governing structure. While Riddle School receives monetary gifts from the PTA, Mattoon Community Unit School District #2 does not own nor is legally responsible for any PTA assets, debts, bank accounts, or actions. School district officials learned that money was missing from the fall PTA fundraiser at Riddle School on Feb. 8, 2011. Upon learning of the missing money, district officials consulted with their legal counsel and immediately reported the missing PTA money to the Mattoon Police Department and Illinois PTA officials. Mattoon Police Chief Jeff Branson stated that after receiving information from school district administrators concerning the missing PTA money, an immediate investigation was launched into the alleged missing money. Upon completion of a preliminary investigation, Mary A. Farris DOB of 04-05-64 of Mattoon was arrested by Mattoon Police on the alleged charge of theft. Mrs. Farris was released pending the filing of formal charges by the Coles County State’s Attorney’s Office. Mattoon school officials are disappointed and saddened by this incident. School officials have offered to work with the state and local PTA to review this situation and determine how it can be avoided in the future.
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