Former Cayce school PTO's leader charged with taking money from organization

Cayce, SC (Paul Kirby) – A former volunteer member of the leadership team for the PTO at Claude A. Taylor Elementary School in Cayce has been charged with taking money from the group. Joy Ellen Knotts, 40, has been charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent with a value of more than $2,000 but less than $10,000, according to the SC State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). She was recently booked into jail.

According to SLED, Knotts took the money over a six-year period while she worked with the PTO, or the parent teacher organization. Each of those groups normally elect their leaders and has a president, vice-president, treasurer, and others that are filled by well-meaning parents willing to help. Among other goals, they raise money for the schools to purchase things not budgeted for by the district like signs, extra supplies, and even upgraded playground equipment.

The SLED warrant states Knotts was in charge of funds for the group at Taylor, a Lexington County School District Two School. It is not uncommon for this type of thing to occasionally happen and certainly isn’t isolated to this school or district. Although the groups try to have systems in place to prevent the misappropriation of funds, because they are all volunteer, sometimes people find ways to circumvent the safeties and convert money raised for school projects to their own use.

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