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School cafeteria employee charged with falsifying number of meals served

A former elementary school cafeteria manager has been charged in connection with falsifying the number of meals served at her school. Patricia Coker Green of Cantonment was charged with Grand Theft and Official Misconduct. She was released from the Escambia County Jail shortly after her arrest on a 5 thousand dollar bond. 53 year old Green was employed by the Escambia County School District from August 1994 to January 2014. Channel 3's Kalie Desimone spoke with Superintendent Malcolm Thomas about the incident and how the School District plans to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

During the official investigation it was found that over 4 years more than 130 thousand meals were falsely recorded here at Ferry Pass Elementary School. "I am shocked that people can think they can get away with stuff like that" says Debbi Phillips. An internal school district investigation found that during the 2009 through 2013-2014 school years, 116,051 breakfast meals and 16,866 lunches were falsely recorded. Based upon the number of meals prepared and served at the Ferry Pass Elementary kitchen, Patricia Green was paid as a 'Food Service Manager 2'. But due to the fictitious meals, officials said she should have been paid about 10 thousand dollars less per year as a 'Food Service Manager 1'. "I've worked at schools where the entire school is on free or reduced lunches. I know that money could be used somewhere else and I feel bad" says Jesse Hudson. In March of this year the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services determined the Escambia County School District was 'over-reimbursed' for the fiscal years of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 for the National School Lunch Program. As a result, the School District was asked to repay the State of Florida more than 250 thousand dollars. "It would be incorrect for the district to try and profit on money that was not legitimately obtained, so we've already made the repayment" says Malcolm Thomas, Superintendent of the Escambia County School District. Malcolm Thomas says as a result of this incident, he says he is making sure internal audits are occurring regularly. "We are also installing surveillance cameras at every point of sale, so anywhere there is a cash register" says Thomas. The Superintendent also says cameras will be mounted above every entrance and exit in cafeteria areas in an effort to also protect food inventory.

As for Ms. Green, she resigned from her position on January 21st of this year but before any disciplinary action could be taken on this incident.