Judge rules PTA had 'contract'

November 04, 1997


Staff Writer

More than four years ago, Caleb Moses won a trip to Florida in a Springfield Middle School PTA drawing.

Caleb, now 16, and his family are still waiting to take that trip.

On Oct. 27, a Washington County Circuit judge awarded the Moses family $2,000, saying the PTA had an obligation to honor the winning ticket.

"It's unfortunate, these are volunteers, but the ticket was drawn," said Judge Kennedy Boone, contacted by telephone Oct. 28. "I feel bad for the PTA but it was a contract."


Caleb's mother, Jackie Moses, said the prize was to include air fare, one week in a motel, car rental and a four-day Disney World pass for a family of four. The trip was to be made within a year of the drawing.

"Caleb won the drawing because of the amount of candy he sold that year," she said. "The winner of the trip from the year before drew Caleb's name in a school assembly."

Because of prior vacation plans for the summer of 1993, the family put off the trip until the fall, Jackie Moses said. Unexpected health problems forced the family to again postpone the trip to Orlando.

Jackie Moses said she called Dennis Fulk, then Springfield PTA president, within the year limit in February 1994 to arrange the trip.

"He told me it was no longer possible and that there was no money for the trip," Jackie Moses said. "He told me there was nothing that could be done."

Fulk was contacted Oct. 28 by telephone. When asked what happened to the trip money, Fulk said it probably was used for trips for other children and other things for the school.

Jackie Moses said she waited three years before deciding to take the matter to court.

First she sued in Washington County District Court and won her case in 1996. The PTA appealed the District Court decision and the $2,000 judgment awarded there.

The Oct. 27 hearing was on that appeal and Boone ruled that the lower court judgment was appropriate.

Daniel Loftus, a Frederick, Md., attorney, who represented the Springfield PTA without compensation, couldn't be reached for comment on whether the PTA would again appeal the decision.

Springfield Principal Roger Stenersen said the promotional company, not the PTA, decides the types of incentives, such as the trip for candy sales.

As to the future of PTA fund-raisers and whether there would be an appeal, Stenersen would say only that the PTA hasn't met since the court decision.

Current Springfield PTA President Kris Trumpower said the PTA would have to meet and decide whether or how the $2,000 judgment would be paid to the Moses family in light of the court ruling.

Despite that ruling, the Moses family isn't sure what will happen.

"We never got the trip and I doubt we ever will," Jackie Moses said.

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