Dr. Bryan Luizzi,  food service,  Jo-Ann Keating,  Lead News,  new canaan public schools,  Schools,  Town Government

Schools food service debit system under review

A review of the debit system used in the New Canaan Public Schools food service program is underway in the wake of the alleged theft of $478,000 in cash from the food service over a five year period, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told the Advertiser last week and the Audit Committee meeting on Monday, Oct. 15.
The debit system accounts for over 95% ($1,900,000) of transactions in the $2 million-per-year food service program, Public Schools Director of Finance and Operations Jo-Ann Keating told the Audit Committee at the Oct. 15 meeting. That system allows families to deposit money into their family account, so that their children can later use the money to buy food at school with a debit account number.
Luizzi told the Advertiser that the Audit Committee, Town internal auditors and the Schools Finance Department are all involved in the review of the debit system. He said that New Canaan Police are not involved at this time.
Some members of the community voiced suspicion about the possibility that some accounts were overcharged over the years, which, if done purposefully, could have been electronic theft. It is not known if any of the suspicions are backed up with actual records.
“We are taking a cursory look to see if a deeper dive” would be warranted from the suspicions, Luizzi told the Audit Committee.
New Canaan Police arrested two food service workers in August for the alleged theft of cash. The charges pertain only to a five-year period, because that is the extent that the statute of limitations will allow to be prosecuted. Police stated that they believed the stealing of cash from the New Canaan Public Schools food service took place for as many as 15 years.
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