LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — State officials on Wednesday said school districts in the Southland and across California have misappropriated tens of millions of dollars intended to provide meals to low-income students.

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The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) racked up an alleged $158 million in misappropriations and unallowable charges, according to a new report issued by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes.

The California Department of Education recently ordered the LAUSD and seven other school districts – including San Diego, Santa Ana, and Compton – to repay nearly $170 million to their student meal programs.

Jim Sweeney, principal consultant with the state Senate office of Oversight and Outcomes, said some of the charges are nearly a decade old.

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“A manager at Los Angeles Unified became concerned about what he perceived to be – and correctly, I might add – improper charges to that district’s cafeteria fund,” Sweeney told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO.

LAUSD officials did not immediately provide any comment on the findings.

The San Diego and Santa Ana districts are challenging the department’s findings, the Associated Press reported.

Click here (PDF) to read the full report.

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