The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday that the head of its massive food services division resigned effective Friday.
In a statement, the school district said the director of food services, David Binkle, “failed to report his ownership of a food-based consulting business” as detailed in an audit released last month by the school district’s inspector general. The school district did not say that the resignation was linked to the inspector general's findings.
The audit also found that under Binkle’s leadership the division ran large operating deficits and that Binkle mismanaged a $1.5 million marketing program funded by companies with school district contracts.
Reached by phone, Binkle said his retirement was not related to the audit findings. “I believe it was in my best interest to move forward,” he said.
Binkle also complained about the district's investigation. “I was not treated fairly… I was never told what it was all about,” he said. After eight months on paid leave, he said he decided to retire from his job.
L.A. Unified’s food services division serves about a half a million students daily during the school year and operates on a $341 million budget.
The school district made big changes in the division five years ago in order to improve the quality of the food and to get more students to eat school meals. The audit found that costs did drop and more students were eating school meals.
But late last year, L.A. Unified pulled Binkle from his job and put him on leave. He continued to receive his $152,000 annual salary.
Binkle, who is 53 years old, said he doesn’t know what he’ll do in the future.