Thursday, October 16, 2014

KCS wants nutrition dept. audit

You might recall back in mid-September when we broke the story that the state is investigating Knox County Schools Executive Director of School Nutrition Jon Dickl for allegations connected to the misuse of funds.

We were told at the time that the probe is tied to the use of two $500 gift cards that were given to food services and into ties that a school vendor has to a car dealership that possibly sold Dickl a deeply discount vehicle.

(Dude makes more than $100K annually by the way. He's currently on paid administrative leave.)

Anyhoo, the school system today issued a release, saying that it is requesting that the county's internal auditing department conduct an audit and an independent risk review of the KCS School Nutrition Department.

According to the release:
Internal Auditor Andrea Addis has been apprised of the school district’s request that her office conduct a financial audit of the school system’s nutrition department as well as providing an independent risk review of that department’s financial operations. Any work conducted by the Internal Auditor would need to be authorized by the Knox County Commission.

“This is a needed step to ensure that the school system’s food service department has a sound financial operation,” said Mike McMillan, Chair of the Knox County Board of Education. “While the department receives an annual financial audit, this review would examine the daily financial management of the department. Pending the Commission’s approval, I look forward to receiving the auditor’s report and to sharing it with the Board of Education.”

“I appreciate the Internal Auditor’s willingness to potentially work with us to take a hard look at the financial operation of our School Nutrition Department and identify any weaknesses in the department’s processes and internal controls,” said Superintendent Jim McIntyre. “I think this is a prudent and necessary action in light of the ongoing investigation into allegations that have been made about the KCS food service director. If the Commission agrees, we will work with Ms. Addis in the coming days to develop a complete project scope of services, and I look forward to initiating the work as soon as possible.”

The Knox County Schools School Nutrition Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 is $27.5 million. The department receives no local or state funding but operates on revenues received from the sale of meals as well as reimbursements from the federal government for meals provided to students of limited economic means. By statute, the food service budget and fiscal management are separate from the school system’s general operating budget that provides for the daily operation of the school system.

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