Audit finds fault with Evergreen school district

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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An audit report made public Tuesday by the Washington State Auditor’s Office noted that Evergreen Public Schools had conditions significant enough to report as findings. The audit was for the 2012-2013 school year.

The district participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs that provide funding for free and reduced-price meals for low-income students. The audit found the district did not have adequate internal controls to ensure compliance with federal child nutrition verification requirements.

Each year, districts must select a sample of applications and verify that the income reported by families is correct. If the verification process is not properly completed, the district is at risk of serving free and reduced-price meals to ineligible families and misreporting the verification results to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

OSPI instructions state that the district is required to verify the household income of 82 applications. The district did not retain supporting documentation to show it verified nine of the 82 applications required to be verified.

The State Auditor’s Office recommends the district ensure the verification process is completed and that records are retained to demonstrate compliance with program requirements.

The district responded, saying it “takes the issues seriously, and believes it has made the necessary changes to strengthen controls and avoid future errors.”

In two previous state audits, errors were found with the school district's verification process. The district has dedicated resources to address those issues.