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March 19, 2008

 

DiNapoli's Office Completes School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Argyle Central School District, Glens Falls Common School District, Letchworth Central School District, Piseco Common School District and Prattsburgh Central School District.

“My office’s audits of school districts, charter schools 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.”

Argyle Central School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Washington County)
The district’s current purchasing policy did not prescribe a process to follow when competitive bidding is not required. Auditors examined 14 purchases in excess of $1,000, totaling $60,220, and found that none of the purchases were supported by more than one quote. Auditors also found that the district’s purchase order system did not operate effectively. Furthermore, the district had inadequate controls over the processing and payment of claims generated from the purchase of goods and services. Finally, the audit found the system of controls over employee compensation, including employee benefits and separation payments, to be adequately designed and operating effectively.

Glens Falls Common School District – Internal Controls Over Payroll and Claims Processing (Warren County)
The board did not exercise proper oversight by adopting payroll policies and procedures to guide employees in conducting their duties and ensure that employee compensation was specifically defined and authorized. For example, the board did not approve salaries totaling $228,341 and benefits and exit payments totaling $59,868 for all nine non-instructional employees in the audit’s sample. In addition, except for some minor issues which were addressed with district officials, the audit did not identify any significant deficiencies in the district’s claims processing procedures.

Letchworth Central School District – Internal Controls Over Purchasing (Wyoming and Allegany counties)
Auditors tested 19 claims totaling $157,214 to determine whether district officials were complying with the board’s adopted procurement policy. Auditors found that nine claims (totaling $125,160) were paid without evidence that district officials obtained the required verbal or written quotations. Auditors also tested five claims totaling $59,598 that were identified by district officials as purchases from state contracts. Using state contract documents, auditors found that all five were made from authorized state contract vendors. However, for two of the purchases, totaling $40,593, the district was overbilled by $3,580.

Piseco Common School District – Internal Controls Over Payroll (Hamilton County)
The district did not have written payroll policies and procedures in place which resulted in the treasurer and secretary developing their own informal procedures. As a result, auditors found instances where employee pay and leave accruals were not accounted for properly. In addition, there was a general lack of management oversight and segregation of duties in the business office that allowed for errors and irregularities to occur and go undetected.

Prattsburgh Central School District – Internal Controls Over Information Technology (Steuben and Yates counties)
The board did not adequately safeguard the district’s computerized data and assets by establishing and implementing appropriate control policies and procedures. District officials did not restrict employee access to only those modules of the computerized financial software that were required for their individual job descriptions and/or official duties. In addition, the treasurer’s electronic signature was embedded into the computerized financial system and applied to payroll checks by a BOCES employee. Finally, management’s ability to detect and properly address unauthorized activities was limited because district officials did not review the software program’s audit logs or exception reports.

School District Accountability
In order to improve accountability of the state’s schools, DiNapoli’s office will audit all of New York’s 834 school districts, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and charter schools by 2010. The State Comptroller’s office has completed 389 school audits and approximately 200 audits are currently underway.

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 Press Office at 518-474-4015.

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