State audit faults Evergreen schools

District received $9,585 in excess funding due to errors

By Susan Parrish, Columbian Education Reporter

Published:

 

Audit finding

Audit finding

A state audit has found fault in the way Evergreen Public Schools calculated and reported compliance with the national school lunch and school breakfast programs.

“The district did not have adequate internal controls over its federal child nutrition verification process, resulting in inaccurate reporting of verification results,” according to the audit report released Monday.

The audit period was Sept. 1, 2011, through Aug. 31, 2012.

The district received $1,116,250 for the School Breakfast Program and $4,290,586 for the National School Lunch Program in the 2011-2012 school year. The programs fund free and reduced-price meals for children from low-income families. To be eligible for these programs, families must meet income guidelines.

The audit found the district incorrectly determined eligibility for about 29 percent of the applications. These errors were due to excluding overtime pay from parents’ total earnings and miscalculating monthly household income using paycheck stubs provided by families.

Due to these errors, the district received $9,585 in excess federal funds and caused inaccurate verification results to be reported to the state.

Each year districts must choose a sample of applications and verify that the income reported by families is correct. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction provides school districts with instructions on how to verify program eligibility. If the verification process is not completed properly, the district risks serving free and reduced-price meals to ineligible families and misreporting verification results to the state.

The errors resulted from district personnel not being fully aware of verification requirements.

In the published findings, the district responded: “The district takes the issues seriously, and believes it has made the necessary changes after the last state audit to strengthen controls and to avoid future errors.”

The district’s response included thanking the auditor’s office “for making it clear in the background section of the audit report that the district did not have an opportunity to make changes to its internal controls prior to the current audit.”