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November 14, 2008

 

DiNapoli: Katonah-Lewisboro UFSD Could Save $1.2 Million if Administrative Costs Fall in Line With Other Schools

Improved Payroll Policies Could Have Saved $68,000 and
Prevented Overpaying Employees $9,160

Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District could save $1.2 million if its spending on administrative salaries was in line with other similarly sized school districts in Westchester County, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“School districts are being asked to do more with less and our audit identified some recommendations for Katonah-Lewisboro,” DiNapoli said. “The district can achieve immediate cost savings by bringing its administrative costs in line with other districts in Westchester County and by firming up its night pay and overtime policies. With the state’s uncertain economic future, school districts need to examine every dime spent and look for ways to save money.”

The audit, which covered July 2006 to March 2008, found that the district spent the most on administrative salaries per student when compared with six other similarly sized districts in Westchester County. Katonah-Lewisboro spent $1,072 per student on administrative salaries while the other six districts on average spent $779 per student to pay for an average of 22.3 administrative positions. Auditors found the district had 28 administrative positions.

Auditors also learned the district did not adequately oversee salary differential payments. The district’s collective bargaining contract fails to outline parameters for night pay differential eligibility. Consequently, employees who started work at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., noon and any time later than noon all received night differential pay for their entire shifts, costing the district $109,089. New York State pays a pro-rated night differential only if employees work at least four hours of their shift between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. If the district used a policy that was similar to New York State’s policy, the district would have saved $68,000.

DiNapoli’s audit also found the district lacked an overtime policy, which allowed district employees to work overtime without pre-approval and without verification that the hours were actually worked. A review of the district’s transportation department’s employee timecards determined that seven employees were overpaid $9,160.

DiNapoli’s office recommends that district officials:

  • analyze the cost of its administrative staff and determine if it would benefit from making adjustments;
  • establish in its collective bargaining agreements a specific time of day for paying a night differential; and
  • develop overtime policies and procedures to include pre-approval of overtime and documentation of hours worked.

District officials generally agreed with the audit’s recommendations and indicated they have started to take corrective action including eliminating three administrative positions. Click here to view the audit.

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 510 school audits and approximately 200 school audits are currently underway.


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