Orleans Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services – Financial Management (2016M-72)

Issued Date
August 18, 2016

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the BOCES’ management of financial activities for the period July 1, 2011 through December 2, 2015.


The Orleans Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is a governmental entity covering the area of 13 component school districts in Orleans and Niagara counties. BOCES, which provides shared services in which component districts participate to enhance their individual educational programs, is governed by a 13-member Board of Education. Budgeted general fund appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled approximately $56 million.

Key Findings

  • BOCES officials did not properly estimate certain budget appropriations and used the resulting surpluses totaling approximately $3 million to fund unbudgeted capital projects.
  • BOCES officials have improperly restricted more than $5 million of surplus funds for a purpose not statutorily allowed and had approximately $2.4 million in reserves that were not used and did not evidence plans for future use.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop appropriation estimates for the annual budget that are reasonable based on available current information and historical data and ensure that the funding of reserves and capital projects is transparent to component districts and the public by including appropriations for the amounts the Board intends to transfer in the proposed budget.
  • Review all reserves and determine if the amounts reserved are necessary and reasonable. To the extent that they are not, transfers should be made, where allowed by law, to other reserves established and maintained in compliance with statutory directives.