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November 12, 2008



DiNapoli’s Office Completes School Audits

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Brookfield Central School District, Crown Point Central School District, North Bellmore Union Free School District, Peru Central School District, Pocantico Hills Central School District and Queensbury 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.”

Brookfield Central School District – Internal Controls Over Claims Auditing and Cash Disbursements (Hamilton, Madison, Oneida and Chenango counties)
The district’s internal controls over claims auditing, cash disbursements and classifying workers for the New York State and Local Retirement System were not adequate. The board did not have an acceptable claims audit function and district officials did not develop guidance for cash disbursements or classifying workers. As a result, claims were not properly audited nor were the financial duties of the business manager/treasurer segregated.

Crown Point Central School District – Internal Controls Over Payroll and Information Technology (Essex County)
Auditors identified weaknesses in internal controls over the district’s payroll process and computerized financial system. The district did not properly segregate duties among the employees involved in the payroll process. Also, the district did not maintain time records for regular hours worked by employees. Although employees did maintain records for overtime hours worked, these records were not always complete. Auditors also found that the superintendent, treasurer and deputy treasurer had computer access rights to all aspects of the computerized financial system.

North Bellmore Union Free School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Nassau County)
The board and district officials did not always ensure that proper internal controls were in place and operating as intended for some of the district’s financial operations. For example, duties in the payroll department were not adequately segregated. In addition, the treasurer did not retain control of her signature stamp or her electronic signature. While the board did establish a credit card policy, district officials did not safeguard gasoline credit cards. Finally, auditors identified weaknesses in internal controls over the computerized accounting system.

Peru Central School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Clinton County)
Internal controls over the payroll process were not appropriately designed and operating effectively to adequately safeguard district assets. As a result, the district failed to update the business administrator’s employment contract, inaccurately calculated longevity pay for an employee, and did not give prior approval for overtime payments made to the payroll clerk and account clerk totaling $10,545. Auditors also found that internal controls over cash receipts and disbursements, and extra-classroom funds were not appropriately designed or operating effectively. Finally, internal controls over the district’s information technology system did not protect electronic data.

Pocantico Hills Central School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Westchester County)
District officials did not always comply with General Municipal Law and district policy requiring competitive bidding. The purchasing agent approved purchases totaling $66,105 from three vendors that should have been, but were not, competitively bid. In addition, the claims auditor did not report to the board as required by Education Law and did not have a clear understanding of how to perform her responsibilities to comply with requirements and to meet the board’s expectations. Finally, the district did not have adequate written policies and procedures providing guidance for the protection of electronic data stored by the district.

Queensbury Union Free School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Warren County)
As of June 2007, the balance of the district’s employee benefit accrued liability reserve fund (EBALR) totaled $7.6 million. The reserve balance was more than 10 times the amount of the district’s related liability, which auditors estimated to be $725,000. The board and district officials raised new taxes at the same time that they were placing unnecessary funds in the EBALR. From June 2003 to June 2007, the district increased its EBALR reserve by about $5.8 million. During this same period, the real property tax levy increased by 36 percent, or by about $6.9 million. Auditors also identified weaknesses in the district’s internal controls over claims processing. The district paid claims prior to audit that did not meet the criteria set forth in Education Law and district officials did not adhere to the board’s credit card policy.

For a copy of the audits, click on the links above.

If you have any questions or would like a comment from the Comptroller’s office regarding any of the audits above, please call the Press Office at 518-474-4015.

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