School District Website Transparency (2021-MS-1)

Issued Date
March 23, 2021

[read complete report - pdf]

We also released 13 letter reports to the following school districts: Beacon City [pdf], Central Square Central [pdf], Grand Island Central [pdf], Haldane Central [pdf], Hunter-Tannersville Central [pdf], Island Trees Union Free [pdf], Lake Pleasant Central [pdf], Newark Central [pdf], New Lebanon Central [pdf], Otego-Unadilla Central [pdf], Rockville Centre Union Free [pdf], Saranac Central [pdf], and York Central [pdf].

Audit Objective

Determine whether the 13 school districts examined used their resources to maintain a website that provided the public with transparent and comprehensive financial information.

Key Findings

District websites did not always provide the public with transparent and comprehensive financial information. Often, required and important financial information was not posted or posted in hard to find locations. Therefore, taxpayers and other interested parties did not have readily available information to make informed decisions.

For the 13 districts we examined:

  • Six did not transparently post comprehensive original budget information.
  • None transparently posted current year budget-to-actual information.
  • Ten did not post a comprehensive final annual budget.
  • Eleven did not prepare and post a multiyear financial plan that could enhance the transparency of the districts’ fiscal decisions.
  • Ten did not transparently post all external, OSC audit reports and, if required, internal audit reports.

Key Recommendations

The districts:

  • Must ensure a comprehensive original board-adopted budget is posted, as required.
  • Should transparently post current year budget-to-actual results.
  • Must ensure that the final annual budget is posted to the website, as required, and should ensure comprehensiveness.
  • Should prepare and post a multiyear financial plan.
  • Should transparently post comprehensive audit reports and corrective action plans.