Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DeCroce: Comptroller’s Report on Free School Lunch Program Costly for All Taxpayers

Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce, R- Morris, Essex and Passaic, said today’s report issued by state Comptroller Matt Boxer revealing a lack of oversight by 15 school districts in reviewing applications for the Free School Lunch Program (FSLP) is troubling evidence that lessons were not learned when such problems were revealed in the Elizabeth school district nearly two years ago.

Boxer’s audit found that school board members and school district employees had provided materially false information regarding their income on the FSLP applications. The comptroller’s office is forwarding the names of 109 individuals discovered in the audit to the Division of Criminal Justice for its review.

“Apparently, some school districts did not learn any lessons from what was discovered in Elizabeth,” said DeCroce, who is a member of the Assembly Education Committee. “Lax oversight in reviewing applications that result in ineligible students receiving a free or reduced cost lunch is unacceptable and cheats taxpayers and other school districts.

“The fact that additional school aid is granted based on the number of participants in this program exacerbates the problem and takes aid from other districts that would welcome the additional help,” continued DeCroce. “This report should serve as a wakeup call to all districts throughout the state that taxpayers expect applications for aid to be reviewed thoroughly and rejected when inaccurate information is supplied. I wholeheartedly agree with the comptroller forwarding the names of people who provided false information to the justice system for review.”

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