Fighting food fraud

Dr. Joshua Murfree, Superintendent / Matt Prichard

The Dougherty County School Board has been addressing allegations of misuse of their free and reduced school lunch program.

In the last week however, reports have come out accusing superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree of withholding information to state investigators regarding the program. With that in mind, Murfree sat down with fox 31 for an exclusive interview, to put these allegations to rest.

"Most important is the question, no sir, we are not going to withhold any information. We were concerned in the June 4th letter, it made the statement, that the superintendent, and the director of child nutrition, withheld information. Which in fact, I will shoulder this as the leader and take responsibility for this as the leader that I will not withhold any information and I know that I did not," said Dr. Murfree.

Dr. Murfree says the board attempted to give the information to investigators, however, at the time they didn't have the ability to do so. Since then, Dr. Murfree and his staff have begun the process of building a database to display and distribute this information.

"We have to build that database; we don't just have that database available. So we're putting a team together, from the finance department, from the benefits department, from the hr department, and yes we're going to have to use "it" to help us get that information. Anything we can do to get that information to our team in Atlanta, we're going to do so," said Dr. Murfree.

But Dr. Murfree says this is all about public perception. And he plans to provide the correct information so citizens can be informed about the board's proceedings in the coming months.

"I just want the public to again understand that we're working as hard as we can. We get an annual review of our program anyways. To receive a letter from the state is not a bad letter. It becomes a bad letter when you don't respond to it, so we're definitely going to respond to the state, to keep those dollar bills coming to the Dougherty County School System," said Dr. Murfree.

School officials say they will continue to provide investigators with all the information they have, and more when the database is finally complete.