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Valpo school audit shows $37K theft: superintendent

Berta

Berta

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View the complete audit of the Valparaiso Community School Corp. by the Indiana State Board of Accounts at www.in.gov/sboa/WebReports/B43448.pdf.

Updated: June 3, 2014 6:25AM



VALPARAISO — A recently released audit of the Valparaiso Community School Corp. by the Indiana State Board of Accounts shows that the food service office manager diverted almost $38,000 in funds for personal use.

“We have been aware since the audit was conducted that there was a theft of money from the food service program,” Superintendent Michael Berta said Thursday, adding the manager has not been employed with the school corporation since January.

The audit, released April 23, covers July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013. A more detailed report on the matter is being prepared by the board of accounts and should be released in the next couple of weeks, Berta said.

“It is my understanding that because of the action taken by the employee, there are further investigations being done that will determine what further action needs to take place,” Berta said. “The time frame (for the theft) has not been determined completely yet. That is part of what is continuing to be investigated.”

According to the audit, the actions resulted in $37,750.15 in “questioned costs” for the meal program, which included federal funds for the free and reduced meal program for low-income students.

“On several occasions, the Food Service Office Manager diverted program income for personal use by failing to deposit and record daily receipts of the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs,” the audit states.

Auditors recommended the school corporation’s management ensure that all program income was deposited and properly accounted for in the food service account, and that administrators ensure compliance with provisions of the grant agreement.

The attention to what the office manager did is forcing changes in how the school corporation handles the meal money, Berta said.

“It’s something that needs to be addressed, so we design a system of accounting so this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

In her response to the audit, Cindy Licciardone, the school corporation’s food service director, said she would establish a segregation of duties within the department.

Money collected for meals was to be counted by a designated staff member, who also would count the cashier drawers. A separate staff member was to run daily reports for sales and meals, with bank deposit slips submitted to the food service bookkeeper, who would verify that daily sales agreed with daily bank deposits.

Licciardone also was to review the financial reports and send a signed copy to the business office, and a separate employee was to prepare the bank deposit, which would be approved by Licciardone and taken to the bank by her.



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