DiNapoli’s Office Completes School Audits
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Arlington Central School District, Carle Place Union Free School District, Lyndonville Central School District and Mount Pleasant 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.”
Arlington CSD – Cost Savings and Extra-Classroom Activity Fund (Dutchess County)
The audit found the district currently uses the services of the Mid-Hudson Regional Information Center to print its computer-processed checks. Auditors performed a cost analysis and estimated that, for the three-year period 2006-07 through 2008-09, district officials could have saved up to $405,000 by printing district checks in-house. In addition, district officials did not administer extra-classroom activity fund moneys in accordance with the regulations. While the board adopted an extra-classroom activity fund policy, it was not enforced, has not been updated since July 1995, and did not include many of the requirements as outlined in the regulations.
Carle Place UFSD – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Operations (Nassau County)
Auditors found the district established an Employee Benefits Accrued Liability Reserve during the 2001-02 fiscal year. Although moneys from the EBALR may be used to pay employees for compensated absences (e.g., vacation time) upon separation from district service, the reserve fund was not used to pay for compensated absences since its inception. The reserve contained $2.6 million in excess funds as of September 2008. Had the district accounted for these excess funds in its general fund, the district would have exceeded the statutory limit of allowable fund balance. According to the Assistant Superintendent for Business, excess EBALR funds were intended to pay for other post employment benefits, which is not a permitted use of EBALR moneys.
Lyndonville CSD – Internal Controls Over Payroll (Orleans County)
The audit found internal controls over payroll were not appropriately designed or operating effectively to safeguard district assets. There were 12 benefit agreements in place for non-union employees, but the board did not ensure the agreements defined the compensation guidelines and fringe benefits to which employees are entitled. For example, auditors reviewed the applications for seven employees who received payments in lieu of health insurance totaling $7,700 to determine if the applications included sufficient information to determine eligibility for payment. Auditors found the applications did not indicate if the employees received health insurance through a spouse’s plan.
Mount Pleasant CSD – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Westchester County)
Auditors found district officials did not seek competition for services provided by seven vendors, who were paid a total of $365,143. The services provided by these vendors included electrical, cleaning, advertising, uniform maintenance, chair rental, public relations and plumbing. District officials did not establish an adequate control environment and did not design or implement internal controls over gasoline credit cards, store credit cards and lines of credit. As a result, the district paid approximately $253,596 for purchases which may not have been for legitimate district purposes.
To view the audits above, click on the links above.
School District Accountability
In order to improve accountability of the state’s schools, DiNapoli’s office will audit all of New York’s school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services by 2010. The State Comptroller’s office has completed 665 school audits and approximately 60 school audits are currently underway.