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July 21, 2011


DiNapoli's Office Completes School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed the audits of the Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District, the Greater Johnstown School District and the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES.

"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."

Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District - Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Albany County)
District officials failed to properly segregate the Treasurer’s duties or implement procedures
for electronic fund transfers. The Treasurer processed 15 electronic transfers totaling $1.4 million without independent approval or review. Such cash disbursement weaknesses can create an environment for significant risk of fraud, abuse or misuse of funds. District officials also failed to seek price comparisons for 10 out of 30 purchases not subject to competitive bidding.  Officials have not developed a disaster recovery plan or established adequate information technology security.

Greater Johnstown School District - Internal Controls Over Extra-Classroom Activities (Fulton County)
Although the board established a policy for the activity fund, the policy is not adequate because it does not provide specific guidance for the financial management and recordkeeping of the activity fund, and it has not been updated since 2001. The district developed an extra-curricular handbook to supplement the board policy; however, the handbook has not been formally adopted by the board. Furthermore, while the handbook is more comprehensive than the district policy, it still does not establish adequate internal controls over extra-curricular activity monies.

Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES - Internal Controls Over Administrators' Private Business Interests
The board and BOCES officials have created a work environment where there is an inappropriate blending of employees' public responsibilities and their private business interests. Auditors found that private work hours and public work hours cannot be distinguished. In fact, some employees' BOCES work responsibilities mirror the work they do in their private business enterprises. They provide the same services for the same exact school districts they serve as a BOCES employee, at times using materials in their private business that they developed as a BOCES employee. In addition, auditors also found an Assistant Superintendent, whose 2009-10 salary was $152,527, also "contracts" with BOCES in a barter arrangement to provide additional services to BOCES and is allowed to run his private business out of the BOCES offices. This individual also provides his services to some of the same school districts through his private business enterprise that he also serves as a BOCES employee.

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