The following was a letter provided by Superintendent Dana Eaton that was sent home to Pioneer Elementary School Parents.
September 6, 2018
Dear Pioneer Elementary Community Member,
I regret to inform you that the Brentwood Police Department announced today that former Pioneer Elementary Parents’ Club officer, Chrissie Bonavito, was arrested and charged with allegedly embezzling over $28,000 in funds from the Pioneer Elementary Parents’ Club account. The money in question comes directly from parent fundraisers/donations and is used to enhance the educational experience of all students at Pioneer School.
On August 21st, 2018, current Pioneer Parents’ Club Board Members alerted Pioneer Principal, Mr. McClure to unknown and unusual charges on the parents’ club debit card statement. Myself and Chief Business Official Robin Schmitt were immediately notified. On the same day, the Parents’ Club debit card was canceled and Mr. Schmitt and I worked with the bank to freeze outgoing funds and close the accounts involved. The Brentwood Police Department was immediately contacted and a police investigation began. The investigation is still ongoing.
Pioneer Elementary School has an active and dedicated Parents’ Club with strong parent involvement. The Brentwood Union School District and Pioneer Elementary sincerely value our partnerships with parents and the community and we will continue to encourage parent involvement in our schools. We believe that this unfortunate incident of misconduct is isolated to this case and there is no evidence whatsoever that any other current or former Parents’ Club officers were involved or had knowledge of what was taking place.
As a district, we will be increasing the amount of training and support provided to each of our parent organizations so that best practices in accounting and oversight are followed. We will be working directly with Pioneer Principal, Mr. McClure to support the Pioneer Parents’ Club in this endeavor.
The Brentwood Union School District will make every effort to have embezzled funds returned to the Pioneer Parents’ Club through restitution and that appropriate legal actions occur. Families should rest assured that the original intent of the donations made to that account will be honored and students will continue to benefit from their financial support.
Ed.D Superintendent, Brentwood Union School District