Funding for La Joya ISD school lunch program in jeopardy

Discrepancies in two different audits done on La Joya ISD TMs Child Nutrtion Program has cost the district millions of dollars.

This all started back in November of 2011 when the district was audited by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

The audit showed that the district did not accurately claim the amount of meals served and that they did not serve the right type of food.

"Our funds were placed on hold, Asst. Superintendent for Administration and Finance Alfredo Vela said. They were placed on hold for the March, April, May, August, September, October, and November--most likely December."

While the miscount can be attributed to human error, it is an error that is costing the district dearly.

"The child nutrition program had a reserved of about $7.3 million dollars at the end of August of 2011," Vela said. "We're using those reserves to fund the child nutrition program."

But those funds will only last through mid-October of this year Vela said. This will force the district to dip into their general fund to keep the program going.

"It takes about 17 to 18 million dollars to operate the program on a yearly basis, Vela explained. On average, it takes about $1.4 million dollars per month to operate the program per month."

Despite this bump in the road"Vela told Action 4 News it is business as usual at all La Joya campuses.

He said kids are still getting their free lunch"the only difference is how they are funding the program.

Vela added that they are already preparing for the December review---if they pass that review the district will be reimbursed.