Police close investigation of 'unauthorized' McCracken Middle account

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Police close investigation of 'unauthorized' McCracken Middle account

By RACHEL HEATON
rheaton@islandpacket.com
Published Tuesday, December 4, 2012   |  450 Words  |  

The police investigation into a bank account that Beaufort County School District officials said was unauthorized has been closed, and no criminal activity has been found.

It's unclear whether the account, uncovered during a review by the district into policy and procedures at H.E. McCracken Middle School, was used for the PTO or student council.

According to the police report, the account was tied to student council expenses. On Tuesday, two teachers and the school's bookkeeper submitted statements to police that said the account was used for that purpose.

But school secretary Denise Gibbo, who managed the account, and a former PTO treasurer told The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette on Monday that the account was used for PTO expenses, such as teacher luncheons.

Gibbo did say the one check written on the account in the several months she administered it was to cover expenses related to a student council trip to Carowinds, an amusement park on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina.

According to the supplemental police report, teacher Sonya Merrick presented the account information to the school district. Originally, district head of protective services Chris Barrow said McCracken counselor Annette Ballard had provided the bank statement.

District officials say they have been reviewing policies and procedures at the school for about a month. The review has been prompted by a "personnel issue" related to principal Phillip Shaw, the officials said. Shaw has been on paid leave since Nov. 8, and district officials have repeatedly refused to elaborate on the reason for his leave.

Gibbo has also not been at work since Nov. 8.

District spokesman Jim Foster said Tuesday that the review of operations at the school will continue. Shaw will not be back until that review is completed. No timeline has been given for the review.

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at twitter.com/HomeroomBft.

Related content:

'Unauthorized' McCracken Middle bank account was PTO's; Dec. 3, 2012

Beaufort County School District discovers unauthorized McCracken Middle bank account; Nov. 30, 2012

Beaufort County School District: McCracken Middle School principal to return soon; Nov. 15, 2012

School district mum on principal's absence; Nov. 14, 2012

McCracken Middle School principal on leave; Nov. 13, 2012