School Meal Fund Theft Raises Security Concerns

The recent arrest of an accountant for the Rialto (CA) USD for embezzling $1.8 million from school meal funds has districts questioning the effectiveness of safeguards against such fraud.

The recent arrest of an accountant for the Rialto (CA) USD for embezzling $1.8 million from school meal funds has districts questioning the effectiveness of safeguards against such fraud, reports the San Bernadino County Sun. Judith Oakes is accused of stealing $3.1 million over 14 years (the $1.8 million total in the formal charges accounts only for the last eight years due to statute of limitation restrictions) while being involved in counting cash from cafeteria sales across the 26,000-student district. Officials say the lapse in security came from lack of attention to basic protocols, but the best safeguard may be the limitation as much as possible of cash sales where currency is involved in favor of electronic payment systems, something many districts are moving to adopt.

TAGS: K-12 Schools
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