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Police investigating after $30,000 allegedly stolen from elementary school's funds

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

Police are investigating after elementary school kids in Johnson County allegedly had $30,000 stolen from them.

Families at Valley Park Elementary, which is located off of West 123rd Street in Overland Park, KS, were sent a letter, letting them know a chunk of change meant for their children was gone.

"It's probably the most difficult thing I've had to do. Obviously, when someone takes money from children and families, it's hard and sad and you go through a lot of emotion," said Valley Park Elementary Parent Teacher Organization co-president Ashley Cherafat.

It was a letter she and other co-president Jade VanSlyke never dreamed they would have to write. In it, it told parents an estimated $30,000 was missing from the PTO account. They were angry but, more than that, heartbroken for the children the money is for.

"This is for field trips and cultural arts and things that our school and students deserve and things they need," VanSlyke said.

As soon as the women realized the money was gone they called police who are now investigating. It's alleged to a case of embezzlement from someone in the PTO group who had access to the account but because no charges have been filed, KCTV5 is not releasing the person's name.

Cherafat and VanSlyke have been asked not to talk about the investigation by police, but they wanted the Valley Park community to know exactly what was happening.

"Our community deserves to know what's going on. It's important to share information. As the PTO we are all in this together and this was someone who has taken money from everyone at our school and we are really disappointed about that," VanSlyke said.

If there is a silver lining, the two said that it's that the money was insured.

The women are hopeful the children won't lose out on things families worked so hard to give them. The PTO is reviewing its accounting procedures and bylaws to prevent something similar from happening ever again.

"We want people to know the person who did this, there will be action taken and we'd like our community to know that," Cherafat said.

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