Missing $70K shocks Rockcliffe Park parents

Parents at Rockcliffe Park Public School voiced their frustrations about how $70,000 in funds appears to be missing from the parent council's bank account.
Parents are upset and jobs were lost by supposed missing cash. 1:52

Parents at Rockcliffe Park Public School voiced their frustrations at a meeting Tuesday evening about $70,000 in funds that appears to be missing from the parent council's bank account.

In a letter to parents sent out Tuesday, the council executive said they have initiated an audit of their finances and said a police investigation is underway.

The council's money issues first came to light said after the daycare that runs Rockcliffe's after-school homework club told parents it would be halting the program next month. The school council has not paid for the service since last December.

The council's executive said they first discovered the money was missing in February.

The school council said the irregularities are not connected to Rockcliffe Park Public School accounts, the school administration and staff or the book fair from 2011.

Job losses at nursery school

Programs that may be affected include milk program and the pizza program, which funds a trip for grade six students.

The after-school homework program in Sandy Hill, which helps 32 children, also has not been funded since December. That adds up to $35,000 unpaid, which has led to job cuts.

"We were forced to lay off our staff. We gave them a month's notice so the program will close May 4 unless payment is made," said Charlotte Masemann, the volunteer registrar at the Bettye Hyde Co-operative Nursery School.

The parent council might have to declare bankruptcy or ask for an interest-free loan from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. They insisted all creditors would be paid.

Ottawa police said they would not comment on whether an investigation was underway and said they would not issue a release unless charges were laid. Parents said they approached police in March.

Parents can email their concerns to the council until the end of the week and another meeting is planned for Apr.17. The council hopes to have the issue resolved by the day after the meeting.