October 15, 2009
DiNapoli Audit Finds Significant Deficiencies in Oversight at Lackawanna City SD
$169,000 in Separation Payments Improperly Paid Out
The Lackawanna City School District failed to properly safeguard taxpayers’ money and assets by not establishing proper financial controls and not fixing these weaknesses after they were identified separately by the district’s internal auditor and financial consultant, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“School district budgets are funded by local property taxpayers and state taxpayers,” DiNapoli said. “These taxpayers should feel confident that their hard-earned money is being put to good use educating the district’s children and that the district is doing everything possible to safeguard the district’s assets. This did not happen at Lackawanna City School District. The district needs to better protect the taxpayers’ money.”
The audit, covering July 2006 to October 2008, identified significant deficiencies in how the board carried out its oversight and governance responsibilities. The board did not protect the interests of taxpayers because it failed to adequately monitor the district’s finances and implement corrective action when deficiencies in the district’s financial operations were pointed out.
In addition, a 2007 report prepared by the district’s internal auditor that detailed significant deficiencies in the district’s financial operations was ignored. The district also took no action after it received a $4,300 report prepared by an education consultant it hired to review the district’s administrative structure, roles and responsibilities in 2006.
During the audit period the board also:
DiNapoli’s audit also found the district did not comply with competitive bidding requirements for 15 purchases totaling $191,487. In addition, the district allowed 113 claims totaling $675,487 to be processed even though they lacked proper approvals for purchases and travel expenses, supporting documentation, a receipt or evidence of audit.
DiNapoli’s office recommends that district officials:
The district generally agreed with the audit’s findings and has started to take corrective action. The district’s full response is included in the audit.
To view the audit, visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us//localgov/audits/schools/2009/lackawanna.pdf.
School District Accountability