Lithonia High bookkeeper’s theft estimate increases to $46K

stephine barkley2

School officials say a Lithonia High School bookkeeper stole $31,000 more than originally believed.

“We have documented that approximately $46,000 in student activity school funds have not been accounted for,” according to a statement by the DeKalb County School District. “The internal investigation will continue to examine school and financial records until all missing funds are identified.”

On Aug. 27, Stephine Barkley, 38, of McDonough, was arrested and charged with theft by taking. A $2,500 bond for her release was posted on Aug. 28. In a written confession to a school district investigator, Barkley stated that she took the money because she was having “some financial difficulties at home.”

“The theft of student activity funds by a former bookkeeper at Lithonia High School was discovered by an audit conducted by the District’s audit and compliance unit,” according to the statement. “The employee was immediately terminated and arrested by the DeKalb Police Department. Our investigative files have been turned over to the DeKalb district attorney for prosecution.”

The theft was discovered after school club sponsors complained to the principal that their account balances were incorrect.

Additionally, a vendor for cheerleader uniforms, emailed school officials about a $9,700 past due balance from the 2013-14 school year, according to documents obtained by The Champion. Because of the outstanding balance, the vendor would not allow cheerleaders could not order new uniforms for the current school year.

“The district will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that Lithonia High School students participating in extracurricular and co-curricular activities will not be negatively impacted,” the school district stated.

“Superintendent Michael Thurmond has directed the district’s audit and compliance unit to undertake financial reviews of all schools with significant cash flows. Mandatory district wide training will be provided for all school bookkeepers. In addition, all administrative processes and procedures will be reviewed to ensure that this type of incident will not reoccur.”



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