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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Chester Union Free School District – Financial Management and Board Oversight (2016M-95)


Released: July 22, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to oversight of the District’s financial operations for the period July 1, 2014 through September 29, 2015.

Background

The Chester Union Free School District is located in the Town of Chester, Orange County. The District, which operates two schools with approximately 1,070 students, is governed by an elected five-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled $25 million.

Key Findings

  • District officials did not maintain the District’s fund balance in accordance with statutory requirements and did not use the excess fund balance to reduce real property taxes or other appropriate purposes, and needs to improve the transparency of the budget process.
  • The Board did not adequately segregate financial duties.
  • The Board did not ensure that claims were adequately audited and the claims auditor did not report directly to the Board or prepare a written report of audit findings.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure that the amount of unrestricted fund balance is in compliance with the statutory limit and reduce the amount of surplus fund balance in a manner that benefits District residents.
  • Segregate financial duties, or if segregating duties is not practical, implement compensating controls.
  • Provide the claim auditor with procedures, a checklist and report format to perform a proper audit of claims and ensure the claims auditor reports directly to the Board.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236