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Staunton School Board chair resigns position amid PTA embezzlement allegation

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Staunton School Board Chair Natasha McCurdy resigned from her position effective April 30. In a called meeting of the school board yesterday, her resignation was unanimously accepted.

McCurdy, who was elected in 2018 in a special election for a two-year term and elected again in 2020 for a four-year term, was not at the meeting yesterday. School board member Fontella Brown-Bundy was also absent and has been from meetings since January for health reasons.

McCurdy’s term expires at the end of 2024.

The News Leader reported on April 19 that McCurdy and her twin sister, Felecia Neil, are under investigation regarding money missing from A.R. Ware Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Association.

Neil is the PTA’s treasurer. An affidavit obtained by the Leader revealed questions about purchases at the sisters’ store they own together, Queen City Games and Gifts, 103 W. Beverley St. in downtown Staunton.

While criminal charges have yet to be filed against the sisters, embezzlement, grand larceny and obtaining money under false pretenses are alleged.

“We acknowledge the police investigation of Mrs. McCurdy and are fully cooperating with the Staunton Police Department,” Staunton School Board Vice-Chair Robert Boyle said during the meeting. “As of now, no charges have been filed against her. However, given the significant public trust associated with the role of school board chair representing the best interests of the division students, staff and families, Mrs. McCurdy has opted to resign her position as chair.”

Boyle will now assume the chair position of the school board until a reorganization meeting in July 2024. According to Boyle, McCurdy, for the time being, will remain on the board.

“It ensures effective leadership within the board,” Boyle said, “and minimizes further distractions to the school division during the investigation.”

Boyle told the Leader after yesterday’s meeting that McCurdy made the decision to step down as chair.

McCurdy did not respond to requests by the Leader about her resignation, but responded to an earlier story about the PTA money.

“I am aware of these allegations and have cooperated from the beginning, and will continue to do so,” McCurdy said in a statement. “The records will show that I have not done anything wrong. I look forward to being cleared of any wrongdoing. Beyond that I will not comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.