LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Parents whose children play football at Largo High School are upset after learning booster money has gone missing.
This Friday was supposed to be a joyous homecoming for the team.
But their field of dreams was dashed when they learned there was no money to buy a custom-made Packer tunnel they raised funds for.
Mom Silenas Hiers along with other parents sold thousands of fundraising cups to help the team.
“We sold. I collected money from people, from parents, from family, from friends, but there’s no money. It has to be somewhere,” said Hiers.
The cost of the tunnel is estimated at $6,000.
Parents learned about the missing funds Monday.
That’s when they also learned the booster club’s president, Dean Newton, resigned back in August after Pinellas County School District started an investigation.
“Those kids worked hard for that. I got out there and worked hard for this. Don’t do our kids like this,” said Hiers.
Melissa Vonaci used to volunteer with the booster club when her son went to Largo High School.
She worked with Newton and said he would handle the money by himself.
“I think there needed to be more accountability. I don’t think it needs to be a one person task when you’re dealing with money. When you’re dealing with cash,” said Vonaci.
Newton wasn’t home when News Channel 8 stopped by, but his daughter was.
She claimed the theft allegations are not true.
The team will have to start over raising funds.
“Maybe somebody could step up and who knows, maybe something could happen. Maybe we’ll have a homecoming miracle. The boys deserve it,” said Vonaci.
District leaders say Newton was questioned about theft allegations.
Pinellas County Schools said this in statement:
“The district’s Office of Professional Standards is investigating whether school board policies were properly followed in regards to working with outside organizations. That investigation is ongoing.”
District officials also said the Largo High School Athletic Booster Club is an outside entity and that it would be up to their organization to pursue criminal charges.
Parents say Newton had been overseeing the booster club for years.
He also worked for Largo High School as a night foreman from April 2016 to August 2017, when he resigned.
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