November 1, 2012

Former Brookwood secretary charged with stealing from school funds

Rachel Brown

— A woman who worked for Dalton Public Schools for 21 years turned herself in to police on Monday on a theft by taking charge for allegedly stealing at least $6,000 from the school where she worked, officials said.

Edna Diane Wells, 56, of 1208 Covie Drive, Dalton, was charged by the Dalton Police Department with felony theft by taking. She had been a secretary at Brookwood Elementary School for several years and worked in various clerical positions in the district before that.

Craig Harper, school system human resources director, said Wells “loved the kids and staff” and “just apparently made some bad choices.” Officials said they are working with Wells and investigators.

Wells posted a $1,000 bond the same day officials said she turned herself in. She declined to answer questions and referred questions to her attorney, Marcus Morris.

School system spokeswoman Pat Holloway said the finance department discovered discrepancies in the school’s funds during a “standard internal accounting review” earlier this year and that led to an internal investigation.

“When we took the issue to the employee, they resigned,” she said.

Harper said Wells left her job in July.

Bruce Frazier, Dalton Police Department spokesman, said how much money Wells is alleged to have taken is unclear, but the investigation shows it is between $6,000 and $15,000 over the past two years. Officials said the missing money was from several school level accounts, such as money she may have handled for ice cream or field trips. Frazier said reports indicate money involved in an after-school care program may have been taken.

“It wasn’t any of the funds that were allocated by the district,” Harper said.