At a quick glance, this Thursday release makes it appear that Knox County Schools is requesting Knox County’s internal auditor, Andrea Addis, to review a KCS department.
Only Knox County Commission (via its audit committee) can do that. Which the schools release mentions, “Any work conducted by the Internal Auditor would need to be authorized by the Knox County Commission.”
Look more closely, and the release appears to be KCS Superintendent Jim McIntyre rolling out the welcome mat:
I appreciate the Internal Auditor’s willingness to potentially work with us to take a hard look at the financial operation of our School Nutrition Department
This item is already on Knox County Commission’s agenda for discussion in Monday’s work session. And this audit has been on the way for weeks.
The news release appears to be a response to outfall from issues in the office of schools nutrition director Jon Dickl, who was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 11. Neither he nor the concern bringing this audit request forward are explicitly named in the release. (We’ve been trying to get someone from the school system or elsewhere on the record over what the concern is for some time.) We do know that accusations of misuse of gift cards in his office is one issue in question, Larry Elmore, a certified public accountant with Knox County external auditor Pugh CPAs previously said.
But this last line is worth noting, giving an indication of how circumstances in the nutrition could have risen to bring about an audit:
By statute, the food service budget and fiscal management are separate from the school system’s general operating budget that provides for the daily operation of the school system.
Read below, the full KCS release:
RELEASE NO. 14-136
October 16, 2014
KCS Asks Internal Auditor to Review
Nutrition Department Financial Operations
The Knox County Schools (KCS) is requesting that the Knox County Internal Auditor’s Office conduct an audit and provide an independent risk review of the KCS School Nutrition Department.
Knox County Internal Auditor Andrea Addis has been apprised of the school district’s request that her office conduct a financial audit of the school system’s nutrition department as well as providing an independent risk review of that department’s financial operations. Any work conducted by the Internal Auditor would need to be authorized by the Knox County Commission.
“This is a needed step to ensure that the school system’s food service department has a sound financial operation,” said Mike McMillan, Chair of the Knox County Board of Education. “While the department receives an annual financial audit, this review would examine the daily financial management of the department. Pending the Commission’s approval, I look forward to receiving the auditor’s report and to sharing it with the Board of Education.”
“I appreciate the Internal Auditor’s willingness to potentially work with us to take a hard look at the financial operation of our School Nutrition Department and identify any weaknesses in the department’s processes and internal controls,” said Superintendent Jim McIntyre. “I think this is a prudent and necessary action in light of the ongoing investigation into allegations that have been made about the KCS food service director. If the Commission agrees, we will work with Ms. Addis in the coming days to develop a complete project scope of services, and I look forward to initiating the work as soon as possible.”
The Knox County Schools School Nutrition Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 is $27.5 million. The department receives no local or state funding but operates on revenues received from the sale of meals as well as reimbursements from the federal government for meals provided to students of limited economic means. By statute, the food service budget and fiscal management are separate from the school system’s general operating budget that provides for the daily operation of the school system.