A Tennessee Comptroller’s Office investigation has resulted in the indictment of Christina Morris, the former cafeteria manager at Patriot Academy in Dandridge, Tennessee.
This, according to a press release Comptrollers released based off an audit.
Investigators said Morris allegedly stole at least $1,660.75 in cash that was collected from the school cafeteria between November 1, 2018 and March 6, 2019, according to the press release.
“The investigation began after county and school department officials determined that numerous cafeteria collections were not being deposited on time. These officials reported this information to Comptroller’s Office, and confronted Morris about the problem,” the press release said.
After she was confronted, Morris returned $1,677 to the school and was placed on administrative leave. Morris told investigators she had been withholding cash for her personal use. She resigned her position on April 11, 2019.
Morris was indicted by the Jefferson County Grand Jury this month on one count of theft under $1,000 and one count of official misconduct.
“The cafeteria manager was given too much responsibility over the financial process within her school’s cafeteria,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson.
“She not only received and counted the money collected, but she also prepared and delivered deposits to the bank, and she reconciled recorded collections with the bank deposits. These duties should be separated between at least two people.”
School officials have indicated they have corrected or will correct the deficiencies noted in the investigative report.
This is not the first time in recent years that Tennessee Comptrollers have called people out for alleged theft or mismanagement of school cafeterias.
As The Tennessee Star reported last year, the Loudon County School System accepted and wasted more than $1,500 of taxpayer money through the National School Lunch Program.
State investigators said Loudon County Schools received meal reimbursements totaling $1,500.09 for meals they served to absent students. Investigators said they reviewed the daily attendance and meal history transactions of each student on the free eligibility list for the period August 8, 2017 through May 18, 2018.
This happened at Eaton Elementary School in Lenoir City.
Also, as reported in 2018, a school cafeteria manager in Sullivan County allegedly stole ice cream money from kindergartners and spent it on herself, according to an audit.
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