All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

OUACHITA PARISH (KTVE/KARD) — According to the Ouachita Citizen, Legislative Auditor Mike Waguespack released the Ouachita Parish School Board’s annual report due to a former employee of the School Board was charged for allegedly embezzling approximately $67,616.02. The annual audit report examined the school district’s finances for the fiscal year 2021-2022.

According to reports, the audit detailed multiple findings that included the alleged theft of school funding over the pasts two years. Reports confirmed that the theft allegedly involved Jason Howze, a former warehouse supervisor of Ouachita Parish Schools.

The report also mentioned that Howze allegedly used debit/credit cards that belonged to the School Board to make online purchases for items that were used at a family business and for personal use. Superintendent Todd Guice advised the Ouachita Citizen that the School Board immediately made contact with local law enforcement after discovering the alleged embezzlement.

According to court documents, authorities confirmed that Howze allegedly made purchases at, and it occurred from December 2020 through October 2022. Approximately $611.96 was used in 2020, $17,453.47 was used in 2021, and $49,550.59 was used in 2022.

According to court documents, Howze was accused of fabricating business invoices for work that was never performed at Ouachita Parish Schools. Records confirmed that checks were allegedly made payable to a local business, which is owned by a relative of Howze. According to officials, the checks were cashed through an account at a local bank.

Howze was arrested and charged with Theft.

According to the Ouachita Citizen, the audit report also mentioned that the school board did not submit its 2022 report before the deadline, and school officials allegedly failed to properly document employees’ time working as required by the school lunch and breakfast program as well as Title II grants.

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