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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Buffalo United Charter School - Financial Management (2018M-197)

Released: March 22, 2019 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Board ensured School funds are used in the most effective and economical manner.

Key Findings

  • The Board assigned nearly all revenue the School received to National Heritage Academies, Inc. (NHA), which is responsible for the general management and control of the School’s finances.
  • The Board did not have control over School funds or how they are used.

Key Recommendations

  • Negotiate changes in the terms of the management agreement with NHA to gain more control over the School’s finances.
  • Continue to periodically assess the terms and conditions of any management agreement to ensure it is reasonable and in the School’s best interest.

School officials generally disagreed with our findings and recommendations. Appendix B includes our comments on the School’s response.

Background

The Buffalo United Charter School (School) is located in the City of Buffalo, Erie County, and is governed by a five-member Board of Trustees (Board). The Board entered into a management agreement (agreement) with National Heritage Academies, Inc. (NHA), a privately held forprofit corporation located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Most charter schools are nonprofit organizations. Less than 15 percent of charter schools across the country are managed by a forprofit organization.

The Board has contracted with NHA to operate the School since the 2003-04 fiscal year. The agreement assigns nearly all revenue the School receives to NHA, which is responsible for the general management and control of the School’s finances.

Quick Facts
Employees61
Enrollment630
Average Amended Budget 2014-15 – 2016-17$9.5 million

Audit Period

July 1, 2014 – March 6, 2018


Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.ny.gov
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236