Grand Prairie ISD's Former Chief Financial Officer Accused Of $600,000 Theft
The former chief financial officer of Grand Prairie schools has been charged with stealing $600,000 from the district.
In a federal indictment, Carolyn Foster is accused of taking the money from October 2014 to July 2015.
Foster was arrested Monday at her current place of employment – the International Leadership of Texas in Richardson, a charter school.
Foster has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, she faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.
In a statement, Grand Prairie schools Superintendent Susan Hull called the alleged theft a reprehensible act of selfishness and greed.
Two district accountants initially raised questions about Foster’s cash withdrawal of school funds she said was needed, in part, to settle lawsuits. There were no such suits. Foster also said the money would reimburse teachers for school supplies.
Read the superintendent's letter
Hull sent a letter to parents in the Grand Prairie ISD:
Dear Parents, I am writing to inform you of the disappointing news about a very serious breach of trust allegedly committed by a former executive at our school district and to tell you about the actions we have taken to deal with the issue and make sure it never happens again. The former chief financial officer of the Grand Prairie Independent School District has been charged by police with the theft of $600,000 from GPISD. Alert and conscientious staff members in our finance department discovered this theft, and we reported it to police right away. The district has been working with police for the last several months to support the investigation and bring this former employee to justice. What that former official, Carolyn Foster, is charged with doing is a reprehensible act of selfishness and greed, and we are working with authorities to prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law. It is unconscionable that someone serving in a position of authority for an organization responsible for educating and nurturing the children of our community would violate that sacred trust. We are working with the authorities to retrieve every penny that was taken, and we have new procedures in place to make sure no one can commit such an act again. I also ordered an independent audit of these funds to determine whether any other funds are missing, if other district employees or others may have been involved in the theft, and to assist in establishing any other needed processes and procedures. Foster is accused of abusing her authority to gain access to money that was intended for schools. She is alleged to have stolen, over a period of nearly a year, about $600,000 in cash that she ordered taken out of district accounts and delivered to administrative offices to be placed under her control. We are very proud to tell you, though, about the great work of two of our accountants, Edie Ellis and Becky Harris, to uncover this theft and help begin the investigation that led to Foster’s arrest. They had questions about how Foster was using this money, and they immediately took their concerns to a supervisor. The police investigation began the very next day. The school board and all of us at GPISD greatly value the community’s strong and ongoing support of our schools and our children, and we will work hard every day to continue to earn that support. Sincerely, Dr. Susan Hull Superintendent