Arrest Affidavit: PTA Mom Stole More than $48,000

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

A PTA mom, accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the board, faced a judge for the first time Tuesday afternoon following an 11-month investigation.

11 News first told you about the incident at Thunder Mountain Elementary last November, when then Parent Teacher Council President, Gretchen Blackford, turned herself into police.

Newly released court documents show Gretchen Blackford may have taken more than $48,000 from the Thunder Mountain Parent Teacher Council. Investigators say she used the money to pay her mortgage payments and household bills.

A judge advised the 37-year-old of her charges Tuesday. Blackford is facing a charge of theft over $20,000, a third degree felony.

According to an arrest affidavit, School District 51 hired a private firm to comb through financial records from the PTC's books to look for evidence of theft.

The firm says it found several questionable transactions. It says Blackford authorized cashier's checks to pay her parents and would then transfer that money into her account.

Court documents show that Blackford sent a letter apologizing to the Parent Teacher Council saying she would pay back the money but the PTC turned that over to police.

Parents are still upset over what happened and hope the court system won't let Blackford off the hook.

"I hope she serves time for it and has to write a letter apologizing. She need to face up to it," Kristie Johnson told 11 News when she picked up her kids from Thunder Mountain Elementary on Tuesday.

At the time Blackford turned herself in she was a fifth grade teacher at Rocky Mountain Elementary, however she is no longer employed with the school district.

Officials with District 51 say the Thunder Mountain PTC is not affiliated with the school board in any way and the board raises and manages all of its own funds.

The district says it did pay $2,500 for the investigation in order to support Thunder Mountain Elementary School.

Blackford is scheduled to face a judge again later this month.

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