Rialto Unified School District

By Beau Yarbrough, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 03/27/14, 6:49 PM PDT |

Rialto >> After Judith Marie Oakes was arrested Aug. 7 on suspicion of embezzling more than a million dollars in lunch money, no one in Rialto Unified mentioned it in an email, a memo or even a Post-It Note, according to district officials.

And over the course of Oakes’ entire 25-year career with the district, no one, either before or after Oakes’ August arrest, ever questioned her work or expressed any concerns regarding the handling of district monies or finances.

At least, not in any writing that district officials can find.

Interim Superintendent Mohammad Z. Islam explains: “Rialto Unified has poor record-keeping.”

Both Islam and business services consultant Sherryl Avitabile also acknowledge that documents have been destroyed or purged by former administrators in the district’s risk management and business services departments.

According to a letter written by Avitabile, a consultant hired by the district to run the business services department after Islam took over for retiring Superintendent Harold Cebrun, “various files were purged from this office” between June 2010 and Sept. 2012, when Islam became associate superintendent.

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