Letter to the Community
from the WI Board of Education

 

 

As many of you may be aware, in a review of West Islip School District contracts, the Board of Education identified a situation which required immediate action. In 2002, the district entered into a contract with Meadowbrook Distributing Corporation, a Pepsi distributer, to provide exclusive pouring rights of Pepsi products in various vending machines located throughout the district for a period of ten years. In consideration for this right, Meadowbrook supplied the district with a new scoreboard for the football field, valued at $10,000, and donated $65,000 earmarked for gym equipment in our then new fitness center at the high school. The West Islip School District received the funds directly, as per the contract, and purchased equipment as prescribed.

While our initial research efforts encountered some early resistance, we eventually determined that the West Islip Coaches Association took responsibility for the vending operation and controlled all proceeds to fund their various activities. Insofar as the proceeds from the vending operation are district revenue, the district took control of the vending machines and will handle their administration and account for the revenues going forward. Our legal counsel, Thomas M. Volz, partner with the district’s law firm Guercio and Guercio, LLP, has provided an opinion supporting this action.

The handling of vending operations by the Coaches’ Association appears to be the practice in place at least dating back to the term of a previous contract which was signed in 1998. It is our understanding that the Coaches Association was assigned the responsibility by certain administrators, in various forms of authority. We are continuing our investigation of this condition.

As indicated above, the vending operations and their proceeds are now under the control of the district. In addition, we have asked our internal auditor, Nawrocki Smith, LLP to conduct a forensic audit of the entire operation dating back to 1998 for the purpose of determining and verifying all the facts in this matter and to implement procedures to ensure that a similar breakdown in contract administration and financial controls does not occur again. These actions to date have the full support of your West Islip Board of Education.

When the audit is complete, we will inform the community of the findings.