Free, reduced price lunches calculated incorrectly, audit says

2014-03-12T19:42:00Z 2014-03-12T21:12:19Z Free, reduced price lunches calculated incorrectly, audit saysCarmen McCollum, (219) 662-5337

VALPARAISO | The Indiana State Board of Accounts recently cited issues in the Porter Township Schools lunch program in its audit.

The audit covering July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013, was released last week.

The audit said the school corporation had not designed or implemented adequate policies and procedures to ensure all purchases from the school lunch fund were for allowable activities or were for the operation or improvement of food services.

The school lunch director prepared all claims for disbursements, and the high school principal and secretary signed the checks. The claim form requires approval by the principal and superintendent prior to payment, but the report said there was no documentation the claims were reviewed or approved prior to payment.

Auditors said the school corporation did not fully comply with the eligibility requirement, which includes verifying free and reduced-price meal applications for the school breakfast and National School Lunch programs.

It said household income on 10 percent of the applications for free and reduced-price meals tested was calculated incorrectly. It said 25 percent of these resulted in students receiving benefits for which they were not entitled.

It also said the district failed to include all applicable equipment purchases from the school lunch fund in its capital asset records.

The school corporation's policy states that all equipment purchases of more than $5,000 are to be listed on the capital asset records. Purchases exceeding $5,000 from the school lunch fund included ovens, freezers, steamers and a skillet braising pan, but they were not added to the capital asset records.

Items that were replaced with the new equipment were not deleted from the capital asset report. In addition, no system exists to provide separate identification for items acquired with federal or nonfederal funds.

Auditors said failure to maintain detailed and accurate equipment and property records and to reconcile physical inventory could result in assets being lost, stolen, misappropriated or disposed of improperly and not detected within a reasonable time.

Stacey Schmidt, Porter Township School Corp. superintendent, said administrators brainstormed with state auditors to find solutions to the issues brought up in the audit.

"We're a small district and don't have a lot of administrative help," she said.

"The director of food service now works under the business manager to provide more oversight. We changed the way some things were working in the free and reduced lunch program. It will be handled in the central office, and there will be more eyes on it to provide more oversight in the program."

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