DiNapoli's Office Completes School Audits
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Alden Central School District, the Candor Central School District, the Hinsdale Central School District, the Moria Central School District, the Scio Central School District, Trumansburg Central School District, and the Westfield Academy and 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.”
Alden Central School District – Nonresident Tuition (Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties)
The district has a process in place to identify nonresident students and has effectively identified and billed for qualified foster students during the audit period. However, district officials made several calculation errors in the billing invoices submitted to other school districts for foster students. As a result, the district undercharged $17,800 for foster children during the last two fiscal years. Officials were also unaware that they should seek reimbursement from the district of origin for nonresident students attending private schools within the district and receiving district special education services.
Candor Central School District – Internal Controls Over Business Office Operations (Tioga and Tompkins counties)
District officials did not ensure that internal controls over business office operations were adequate to safeguard district assets. The treasurer did not control the use of her signature, user access rights to the financial software were not assigned in accordance with job duties, cash disbursement and payroll duties were not adequately segregated, and the district did not have sufficient bonding insurance. Because of these weaknesses, inappropriate payments could be made without detection or correction.
Hinsdale Central School District – Financial Condition and Energy Savings (Cattaraugus and Allegany counties)
The district has not taken adequate action to address the excessive general fund balance or adopt realistic budgets. As a result, at June 30, 2010, the district reported an unreserved, unappropriated general fund balance of approximately $1.7 million. This amount is approximately 18 percent of the ensuing year's appropriations and exceeds the statutory limit by more than $1.3 million. The district could achieve cost savings of $162,000 by using reduced-watt fluorescent lamps and high-efficiency ballasts for lighting.
Moriah Central School District – Internal Controls Over Professional Services and Claims Auditing (Essex County)
The board has adopted a comprehensive purchasing policy that requires the use of a request for proposal (RFP) to procure professional services, but district officials did not always use RFPs. Additionally, the district paid certain professional service providers without written agreements, meaning the district may have paid more than necessary for the services. Auditors also found that the claims auditor did not perform his duties in accordance with district policy and that the district often paid claims before the claims auditor reviewed them.
Scio Central School District – Transportation Costs and Financial Condition (Allegany County)
The district could save $21,300 in salary-related costs annually and $98,000 for replacing a bus by consolidating and eliminating bus routes. It could also save $1,200 annually by using the state bid for diesel fuel. The district has failed to follow proper budgeting practices. As of June 30, 2009, the unreserved, unappropriated general fund balance totaled $1,021,550, which represented 10.8 percent of appropriations for 2009-10. This was approximately 2 1/2 times the amount allowed by law. Another $867,000 held in reserves as of June 30, 2009 was funded in excess of documented needs. The 2009-10 fiscal year ended with an operating surplus of about $246,000. After transferring funds into reserves and capital projects, and increasing the amount of fund balance appropriated for the subsequent year's budget, the unreserved and unappropriated fund balance decreased to $206,112, representing approximately 2 percent of the 2010-11 budget. About $700,000 held in reserves at June 30, 2010 continues to be funded in excess of documented needs.
Trumansburg Central School District – Financial Condition and Special Education Services (Tompkins, Seneca and Schuyler counties)
District officials adopted budgets that were overstated during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years and maintained inaccurate account balances in the district's accounting records at the end of the year. As a result, the district had more than $9 million in unreserved fund balance in the general fund on June 30, 2010. This represents 39 percent of the total appropriations for the 2010-11 fiscal year and $8.1 million more than allowed by law. Auditors also found that if the district submits Medicaid claims for reimbursement, it could boost revenue by $244,707 over the next three years. The district would also save $224,292 over the next three years if it continued not to submit reimbursement claims, but discontinued its service contracts with BOCES.
Westfield Academy and Central School District – Financial Condition and Business Office Cost Savings (Chautauqua County)
District officials consistently overestimated certain budgeted appropriations, resulting in operating surpluses totaling $2 million for the three-year period ending June 30, 2010. To stay within the legal limit for retaining fund balance, the district officials transferred excess fund balance to its reserves at year-end. These transfers were not part of the budget process, and taxpayers were therefore unaware that they had occurred. The District's Employee Benefit Accrued Liability Reserve was overfunded by $1.7 million at June 30, 2010. The District also funded four additional reserves that had questionable balances totaling $1.2 million at June 30, 2010.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.