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January 21, 2009

 

DiNapoli's Office Completes School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Menands Union Free School District, Mount Pleasant Cottage Union Free School District and Putnam–Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

“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.”

Menands Union Free School District – Independent Audit Services (Albany County)
Auditors found the district followed appropriate policies and procedures when procuring audit services. However, auditors found areas where the certified public accounting firm could have improved its audit approach and documentation. For example, the audit identified instances where the CPA firm did not comply with auditing standard requirements relating to the consideration of fraud. The standardized checklists that the CPA firm used did not contain the CPA’s conclusions regarding the risk of fraud. Auditors also found no indication that the CPA firm documented an audit response to the risk of district management overriding controls, as mandated by auditing standards. Finally, the CPA firm did not properly report control deficiencies to the board.

Mount Pleasant Cottage Union Free School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Westchester County)
The audit found that district management did not establish adequate internal controls over purchasing. The chief financial officer did not ensure that available appropriations existed before authorizing purchases, did not make budget transfers in a timely manner, did not encumber funds and did not include all recurring expenditures in the budget. District officials also did not implement board policies and obtain requests for proposals and quotes when making purchases. Finally, internal controls over the district’s information technology system were not appropriately designed or operating effectively.

Putnam–Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services – Internal Controls Over Claims Processing and Information Technology (Putnam and Westchester counties)
Auditors found BOCES officials did not always provide proper oversight to ensure that payments on professional services contracts corresponded with contract rates. In addition, the claims auditor could not always verify whether payments were made in accordance with contract terms because the contracts were not routinely attached to the voucher packets. Finally, the board did not require the claims auditor to report to the board as required by Education Law. Additionally, although the BOCES has an acceptable computer use policy in place and procedures for exercising the policy, BOCES officials did not monitor or enforce the policy or procedures. Auditors found five downloaded games, two copies of an instant messenger program, and a program that allowed unauthorized downloads on BOCES network computers that were in violation of the acceptable use policy. Finally, BOCES officials did not establish sufficient policies and written procedures over the physical security of the server room.

Click here to view the audits above.

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


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