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March 03, 2011

 

DiNapoli's Office Completes School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Averill Park Central School District, the North Warren Central School District, the Scotia-Glenville Central School District, the Seneca Falls Central School District, the Tupper Lake Central School District and the William Floyd Union Free 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.”

Averill Park Central School District – Internal Controls Over Information Technology (Rensselaer County)
Auditors determined internal controls over the district’s fiscal management system were inadequate. Users were granted access to functions of the financial software applications that they did not need in order to fulfill their day-to-day job responsibilities. Audit logs were not generated and reviewed by someone independent of the business office operations, and the district did not have a formal IT disaster recovery plan.

North Warren Central School District – Internal Controls Over Information Technology (Warren and Essex counties)
Auditors found that the board adopted an IT policy, but it needs to be modified to address certain IT risks, such as those arising from the use of external hardware devices or Internet browsing to prohibited sites. Auditors also found the district’s Internet filtering device does not sufficiently limit access to sites without a discernible business purpose, and can be overridden by the business staff. In addition, computers with access to the financial accounting software can download files, such as streaming videos that could introduce malicious software.

Scotia-Glenville Central School District -- Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Schenectady, Montgomery and Saratoga counties)
Internal controls over claims processing are appropriately designed, but are not always operating effectively. The claims auditor generally certified the warrants after checks were released and did not provide adequate documentation to indicate when she actually audited the district’s claims. Auditors also found that the district did not use a competitive RFP process for selecting audit firms at least every five years, as required by law.

Seneca Falls Central School District – Energy Cost Savings (Seneca County)
The district has been offered donated natural gas by the local landfill. The landfill is currently burning off excess methane gas, which could be used to generate additional natural gas, with the installation of conversion equipment. The costs to the district of accepting this donated gas would include construction costs of laying pipeline to the gas supply and connecting to the Frank Knight Elementary school and the High School/Middle School campus. District officials indicated they will not accept the offer until they determine if the initial outlay of capital required for the project will have a reasonable payback period, and if the landfill has acquired the necessary equipment. The district could save approximately $84,800 annually by accepting the donated gas.

Tupper Lake Central School District – Internal Controls Over the Internal Audit Function and Information Technology (St. Lawrence and Franklin counties)
Auditors found that the board did not establish an internal audit function as required by Education Law. In February 2007, the board appointed a local CPA firm as its internal auditor without seeking the required competitive proposals. The board paid the CPA a nominal fee in 2007, and reappointed the same CPA firm as internal auditors from 2008 through 2010, but never required an actual annual risk assessment, audit plan or actual internal audit to be performed. In addition, although procedures have been developed for establishing and disabling user accounts, the procedures do not address the timeliness of disabling the accounts, and management does not ensure that user accounts have been disabled in a timely manner.  

William Floyd Union Free School District – Audit Follow-Up (Suffolk County)
Auditors determined the district has made significant progress in correcting the problems identified in their initial report. Of the 35 audit recommendations, 32 recommendations were implemented, two recommendations were partially implemented, and one recommendation was not implemented.

To view the audits above, visit: www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/index.htm.




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