FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) - Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen has released a review of spending of the food service fund at Kenton County School District, finding excessive travel and lax financial controls.
According to the audit, since calendar year 2007, the Student Nutrition Department has spent at least $116,388 on out-of-state travel. In 2009, 46 employees attended the same conference in Las Vegas, costing the district more than $40,000. Twenty-seven employees attended the same conference in Nashville last year, costing the district more than $19,000.
"We agree totally. It looks bad. And that's why we want to proactively put in safeguards that this will never happen again," said Barb Martin.
The former Director of Food Services traveled to locations such as New York, Miami, Boston, Seattle, Napa Valley, and Japan.
The Kenton County Board of Education agreed in its response to the review that it is unnecessary for large numbers of employees to travel to the same conference. The Director of Operations stated that he had no prior knowledge of many of the out-of-state trips and was not aware of many of the trips until the District gathered the travel documentation per the auditor's request.
"I am pleased the Kenton County Board of Education agrees with the analysis and has already
begun taking steps to implement my recommendations," Edelen said.
"The former food director has won state awards, national awards, served on national committees for her emphasis on nutrition and wholesome food for children. When you have someone who's getting those kind of kudos, the assumption is that they are functioning at a high level professionally," said Martin.
The review was prompted after a citizen reported concerns about procurement, travel by district food service personnel, the use of take-home vehicles and other financial related issues. The report presents six findings and 36 recommendations to strengthen district policies and oversight of financial activity.
The review also found that personnel were reimbursed for travel expenses without proper preauthorizations, the former Director of Food Services circumvented small purchase procedures and that controls over the purchase of fuel were inadequate.