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February 10, 2009

 

DiNapoli's Office Completes School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Ithaca City School District (Tompkins and Tioga counties), Irvington Union Free School District (Westchester County), and Southwestern Central School District (Chautauqua County).

“My office’s audits of school districts and BOCES help schools improve their financial management practices,” DiNapoli said. “These audits are tools for schools to make sure proper policies and procedures are in place to protect taxpayer dollars and provide students with the best possible education.”

Ithaca City School District - Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations and Potential Cost Savings
The district’s written procurement policy did not include specific procedures for obtaining requests for proposals (RFPs), written quotations, or verbal quotations as well as the circumstances when each method should be used. Auditors also found the district did not competitively bid purchases totaling $268,864 as required by law. In addition, district officials did not segregate the treasurer’s cash receipts duties or implement other compensating controls during the majority of the audit period. The treasurer also did not supervise and control the use of her facsimile signature, and was not notified when her signature was applied to accounts payable checks. The board did not audit claims, and had not appointed a claims auditor. Finally, the superintendent and IT director had not developed procedures and practices for a formal computer data disaster recovery plan, network time-outs after a period of inactivity, and the review of user access rights. Auditors also found that the district could save $40,100 annually if power management features were implemented for district computers.

Irvington Union Free School District – Internal Controls Over Purchasing
Auditors found that district officials had not established and adhered to effective purchasing policies and procedures. The district’s purchasing policy in effect prior to March 2008 was inadequate. In March 2008, the board adopted a new purchasing policy and established procedures to comply with the policy. The policy required that written quotes be used for purchases costing $1,001 to $10,000. However, the policy was not specific as to the number of written quotes that need to be obtained.

Southwestern Central School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations
The board had not adequately monitored the district’s financial condition, resulting in the June 30, 2007 unreserved, unappropriated fund balance of approximately $1.3 million representing 5.6
percent of the ensuing year’s budget, or nearly twice the legal limit that a school district is allowed to retain. In addition, the district had established various reserves, which continued to increase; however, district officials did not demonstrate the need for the balances maintained. Moreover, the minutes of the board’s proceedings did not clearly identify the board’s authorization of certain employee benefits. In addition to salaries, certain employees were paid for unused leave time in the amount of $20,414, without board authorization. The district also did not have a process for tracking employee attendance and there was no signature from the employee or a manager attesting to the time worked. Further, there was no procedure in place to account for leave time usage and balances.

Click here to view the audits above.

If you have any questions or would like a comment from the Comptroller’s office regarding these audits, please call 518-474-4015.

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