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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Massena Central School District - Selected Non-Payroll Disbursements (2019M-71)

Released: June 21, 2019 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether District officials properly disbursed payments for dental benefits, third-party administrative fees and utilities.

Key Findings

District officials allowed:

  • The third-party administrator (administrator), and three utility vendors, who disbursed $488,545 during the audit period (for dental plan benefits, administrative fees and utilities), direct access to a District bank account to disburse these funds.
  • Payment of utilities totaling $60,641 and administrative fees totaling $1,144 without audit and approval by the claims auditor.

Key Recommendations

  • Discontinue allowing the administrator and utility vendors from having direct access to a District bank account and the ability to disburse funds.
  • Transfer money to the administrator for the total amount payable in satisfaction of dental claims and initiate and disburse funds for all utility payments.
  • Ensure that all claims are adequately supported and audited and approved by the claims auditor when required.

District officials agreed with our findings and have initiated or indicated they planned to initiate corrective action.

Background

The Massena Central School District (District) serves the Towns of Brasher, Louisville, Massena and Norfolk in St. Lawrence County. The ninemember elected Board of Education (Board) is responsible for the general management and control of financial and educational affairs. The Superintendent of Schools is the chief executive officer and, along with other administrative staff, is responsible for the day-to-day management under the Board’s direction.

The Treasurer is responsible for the custody and disbursement of all funds. The Business Manager serves as the Deputy Treasurer. The District contracts with the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) to perform the claims audit function and also appoints a separate claims auditor to audit BOCES claims. The District contracts with an administrator to process, audit and pay dental plan related claims on the District’s behalf. In addition, the District purchases electric, natural gas and water and sewer services from four utility vendors.

Quick Facts
Enrollment2,631
Employees416
2018-19 Appropriations$54 million
Dental Benefits, Administrative Fees and Utilities for the Audit Period$755,399

Audit Period

July 1, 2017 – October 31, 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