Misuse of funds cancels employee rewards program

Money was not supposed to be used as employee incentives

June 17—Cafeteria workers at the San Diego Unified School District will no longer receive gift cards, chocolates and movie passes funded from a program to feed needy children.

The district was using the rewards to further goals such as perfect attendance or avoiding on-the-job injuries for the 1,200 workers. The program cost $300,000 over the past 12 years, funded with money for low-income lunch subsidies.

The district canceled the program after receiving a citizen complaint about it in recent months.

“The cafeteria funds were not supposed to be used,” district spokeswoman Linda Zintz said. “We could use the funds for retirement gifts and certificates of appreciation, but they are not supposed to be used to improve (employee) performance.”