School District Reimbursed After Suspected $81,000 Lunch Money Theft

prairie grove schools

The state has agreed to reimburse Huntsville School District most of the almost $81,000 officials believe was stolen by two lunchroom employees who were fired for theft last year. The two fired employees have begun paying back much of the the remaining amount, according to the Arkansas Insurance Department.

The Arkansas Governmental Bonding Board approved paying out $74,330.86 to the school district. That amount, along with a $2,500 deductible and $4,136 in restitution paid so far, reimburses the school district for the $80,966.86 lost from a theft scheme uncovered by a State Legislative Audit last September, said Alice Jones, communications director for the Arkansas Insurance Department.

School officials found out in February 2013 that the food service director and a school lunch cashier at Huntsville High School were stealing lunch money from the school district. Debbie Cornett and Kammy Middleton were fired that month after police placed surveillance cameras in the cafeteria to see if employees were properly carrying out food transactions.

Cornett and Middleton pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft in February. They were sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution, although Madison County Prosecutor Joel Cape said no specific dollar amount was established that the women stole from the school district.

Authorities never established or proved exactly how much the women stole, Cape said.

Average revenue from lunches at the school increased significantly after the pair was terminated, according to documents released by the Arkansas Division of Legislative Audit.

The report indicates on the days the food service director worked on average, revenue decreased by $283.46. During the days the cashier worked on average, revenues decreased by $37.27.

On average, for the 52 school days after employment termination of the food service director and the cashier, daily a la carte sales increased by $11.19, according to the audit report.

The audit found $80,956.86 was due to the school district from school lunch transactions.

4 comments

  • Eric

    You CANNOT make this stuff up! So everyone gets no jail time and since September of 2013 approximately only 5% of the suspected theft amount has been returned by the criminals? How hard could it be to “negotiate” a settlement amount from the women and then move to PROMPTLY seize their assets? It’s ok, the state (us taxpayers) will reimburse the School District.

    I wish I may, I wish I might, never see this state again in my rear sights!

  • Lori Lester

    I can tell you for fact that one of the cafeteria employees got falsely accused! That would be my aunt Debbie. The Madison County Record not only quoted her when she did NOT speak to them. But left out some major points! Like the prosecuting attorney said that the school had NO case because there was NO evidence! There is so much more to this story! I’m not saying people should not be held accountable but I’m saying it should be fair and truthful. Most times people pay when they are innocent.
    I’m just telling a very small portion of the other side.
    One thing I will say is people should be careful who they vote into any position. School board to sheriff’s office!

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