Parent group's ex-chief sentenced

Eagle Staff Report

The former head of a parent group formed to help low-income children prepare for kindergarten was sentenced to two years in state jail Monday for stealing from the organization.

Otilia Galvan Garcia was the elected president of the Neal Head Start Parents Group. Members of the group contacted authorities last August after discovering she had illegally written checks at Wal-Mart using program funds.

Authorities later determined that Garcia also stole more than $1,200 from the local Head Start program. The money had been collected during a fund-raiser but never deposited.

Garcia pleaded guilty to the charges in February.

In addition to credit card abuse and forgery charges, Garcia was sentenced Monday to one year and 180 days in the Brazos County Jail for theft and failure-to-ID charges. However, both punishments will be served concurrently with the two-year sentence.

Head Start is a state and federally funded educational and social service program for preschool children whose families live below the federal poverty level.

Programs are set up around nine schools in Bryan and College Station and 16 home-based centers are open across the Brazos Valley. Parent groups are formed at each center and representatives of each participate in an advisory council.

While the program is state financed, fund-raisers are used to pay for extracurricular activities and social events.

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