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February 2, 2011

 

DiNapoli's Office Completes School Audits


New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Beekmantown Central School District, Clarkstown Central School District, Geneva City School District, Homer Central School District, Riverhead Central School District and Taconic Hills Central School District.

“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.”

Beekmantown CSD – Budgeting Practices and Internal Controls Over Transportation State Aid (Clinton County)
Auditors found the board adopted budgets that underestimated revenues by $3.6 million and overestimated expenditures by $10.5 million, resulting in revenues exceeding expenditures by approximately $6 million over the last five years. As a result, the district accumulated fund balance that exceeds the statutory limit by approximately $5.6 million and levied more in taxes than were needed to fund operations by that same amount. Auditors also found the board paid for compensated absences totaling $571,191 over the last five fiscal years out of the general fund rather than the reserve fund for that purpose. Internal controls over transportation state aid were not adequate. As a result, two buses purchased during the 2007-08 fiscal year were not reported to SED for approval for transportation state aid. Had auditors not identified this oversight to district officials, the district would have lost transportation state aid totaling approximately $137,000.

Clarkstown CSD – Legal Service Costs (Rockland County)
The audit found the district had contracts with two separate legal firms, one as general counsel and one as counsel for labor relations. Auditors found a potential for duplication of services in the contracts’ terms, as both contracts included services for labor relations. Further, the district’s legal costs were high relative to all other districts statewide. If the district had achieved the average costs of comparable school districts in the region, it would have saved as much as $462,000 in legal services costs during fiscal years 2007-08 through 2009-10. District officials entered into the two legal service contracts without soliciting competition and retained the services of the same general counsel since 1949 and the same labor relations counsel for the past 16 years.

Geneva City SD – Internal Controls Over Medicaid Reimbursement (Ontario, Seneca, Yates counties)
Auditors found the district did not properly process its claims for Medicaid reimbursement. The district lacked written policies and procedures to define the responsibilities for collecting data and documentation; identifying eligible students; submitting and reconciling claims; and monitoring the reimbursement process during the 2008-09 fiscal year. As a result, in the 2008-09 fiscal year the district did not claim an estimated $175,064 in potential Medicaid reimbursements for individual education plan-related services, targeted case management (TCM), and TCM ongoing service coordination.

Homer CSD – Software Cost Savings and the Composting Program’s Environmental Impact (Cayuga, Cortland, Onondaga, Tompkins counties)
The audit found the district realized cost savings of approximately $47,000 by using its free e-mail application versus upgrading its old e-mail system. In the fall of 2009, district officials implemented a composting program at their intermediate school with grades three through six. Through this composting effort, the district reduced the amount of cafeteria waste for both schools to approximately 76 pounds per day, or approximately six tons per school year. As an added benefit, the district saves about $1,500 annually through a reduction in tipping fees and the purchase of garbage bags.  

Riverhead CSD –Internal Controls Over Payroll (Suffolk County)
Auditors found the district established an adequate system of internal controls over payroll to safeguard district assets. District officials implemented specific procedures to ensure the individuals included on each payroll are bona fide district employees, are paid approved salaries and wages, and receive only those benefits to which they are entitled.

Taconic Hills CSD – Internal Controls Over Information Technology (Columbia & Dutchess counties)
The audit found district officials did not establish adequate internal controls to effectively safeguard the district’s computer system and data. The district did not establish breach notification or disaster recovery policies. It also did not have effective policies and procedures in place regarding remote access, and there was inadequate security for its server and wiring closets. Finally, the IT system administration duties were performed by an individual who also performs financial duties. These duties are incompatible.

To view the audits above, visit: www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/index.htm. If you have any questions or would like a comment from the Comptroller’s office regarding the audits above, please call the Press Office at 518-474-4015 or email press@osc.state.ny.us.



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