Feds to withhold $100 million from La Joya ISD if school lunch program errors persist

lunch tray

La Joya Independent School District has two months to prove it can account for all lunches served in the district or risk losing out on $100 million in federal funding.

The district has struck out twice so far. The district has reported serving thousands more meals a month than it actually doled out, two audits conducted by the Texas Department of Agriculture in the last year showed.

If a third audit in December reveals discrepancies, the district will lose $100 million over five years, the Mission Progress Times reported. The Rio Grande Valley district has about 29,000 students, more than 90 percent of them identified as “economically disadvantaged.”

In November the district reported 4,600 more meals than were actually served. In March, the district over-reported by 3,200. Federal officials suspended funds for school lunches, and the district has been paying about $1.5 million a month since then, the McAllen Monitor reports.

Superintendent Alda Benavides has implemented stronger monitoring of school lunches for the district.

“I make a promise to the community that whatever the situation, that we as a board will work diligently to make sure the students of La Joya ISD will continue to see their free lunch. This is something we need to take seriously,” said La Joya ISD Trustee Isaac Sulemana, as reported by the Progress Times.

Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of lunch tray by flickr user bookgrl, used via a Creative Commons license.