Former Ottawa school treasurer faces fraud charges

The former treasurer of the parent council at Rockcliffe Park Public School is facing fraud-related charges after more than $75,000 went missing from its bank account earlier this year.

Rockcliffe Park Public School's parent council discovered more than $75K missing in February

Former treasurer of Rockcliffe parent council charged after thousands of dollars disappears. 2:02

The former parent council treasurer at Rockcliffe Park Public School is facing fraud-related charges after more than $75,000 was reported missing from its bank account earlier this year.

Mark MacDonald, 49, is facing three charges including fraud over $5,000, possession over $5,000 and obtaining money under false pretences under $5,000.

Ottawa police started their investigation after the parent council reported money missing in late March, after MacDonald failed to show up for a parent council meeting.

"It's a sad situation. The whole entire thing, it was an upsetting year last year for all of us," said Seanna Kreager, a parent council member and chair of the school's annual book fair fundraiser. "But we're focusing on the positive and rebuilding as a community. So we've been really focused on that, and just trying to work through everything and come together as a school community.

"Obviously we'll let the justice system do its work," she said.

According to a timeline of events and a letter sent home to parents in April — both posted on the council's website — financial irregularities and late payments were discovered in February that affected the school's milk and pizza programs, as well as the after-school homework program run by the Bettye Hyde Co-operative Nursery School.

The parent council used funds from its annual book sale to cover the costs of the milk and pizza programs through the rest of the 2011-2012 school year. The cost of a Grade 6 class trip in June 2012 was paid for by the school itself after the council agreed to pay back the money by June 2013.

Everything is running normally this year, Kreager said. The school's annual book fair fundraiser starts Friday and runs until Sunday.

"I think it's sad that it's come to this," said parent Michele Hayman at the book fair on Friday morning. "… It's just a difficult situation for everybody and it's sad that this did happen, but we're here, we're resilient, we're rebuilding, we're working for the kids to make it a better school for them and other public schools in the area."

MacDonald is next scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 21.