DiNapoli Announces New Online Training for School Board Members
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today a new online training program for school board members to help them comply with a state law requiring newly elected school board members to obtain six hours of training on financial issues. The law was passed in 2005 after theft and other questionable actions occurred at several Long Island schools, some of which went undetected by school board members because they did not have the necessary training or fiscal knowledge to identify the wrongdoing.
“School board members are responsible for overseeing millions of taxpayer dollars. They need information to make smart decisions, protect the public’s money and identify warning signs of fraud,” DiNapoli said. “This new training course will provide board members with a convenient and low-cost option to fulfill their training requirement.”
The six-hour online training course was developed in partnership with the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) with technical support from Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC). The course includes strategies for identifying fraud and covers requirements for auditing expense claims and controls, developing a budget, and the fiscal responsibilities of board members. Participants are given quizzes and tests before they can move on to a new subject area, and are encouraged to share information with colleagues in chat discussions.
Timothy G. Kremer, Executive Director of NYSSBA, said “NYSSBA has experience with online training through our online learning campus; this approach has been well- received. I’m pleased to see how interactive this course is. HVCC has incorporated many learning techniques which really keep the learner engaged. I know our members will find it useful.”
The training is part of a five-point plan developed by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC), NYSSBA and a coalition of educational organizations to strengthen school fiscal practices. The plan also required districts to follow rigorous external and internal audit standards and establish audit committees. DiNapoli recently secured an additional $2.7 million to hire more staff to audit schools in the 2007-08 state budget. OSC must audit all of the State’s 832 school districts, Boards of Cooperative Educational Services and charter schools by March 31, 2010. Currently, more than 200 school audits are underway statewide.
Registration for the online training starts May 14 and runs through May 31. Courses begin June 1, June 15 and June 29. The cost for the course is $60. To learn more, contact NYSSBA at 518-783-0200 or OSC at 518-402-4564 or the local school clerk’s office. To register for the course, go to http://www.nyssba.org or http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/schoolsfa/online6hour.htm.