New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys, Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Girls, Frewsburg Central School District, Holley Central School District and the Homer Central School District.
“In an era of limited resources and increased accountability, it’s critical that schools make every dollar count,” DiNapoli said. “By auditing school district and charter school finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively.”
School officials do not have a means to determine whether the school received the services outlined in its contract with the Brighter Choice Foundation. In addition, the fee structure, based on a percentage of per pupil revenue, does not appear to be reasonable, as the services being provided do not have any bearing on the number of students at the school or the state Education Department’s charter school tuition rate.
School officials do not have a means to determine whether the school received the services outlined in its contract with the Brighter Choice Foundation. In addition, auditors found that the school did not budget properly. For both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years, the school’s total expenses were underestimated. This resulted in a smaller net income than anticipated in the 2011-12 fiscal year and a loss in the 2012-13 fiscal year for which a net income had been planned.
Frewsburg Central School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Chautauqua County)
District officials did not adopt policies governing the establishment and use of reserve funds and could not demonstrate the reasonableness of reserve balances. As a result, two of the district’s reserve funds had balances that totaled $3.1 million more than needed for authorized purposes, and three of the district’s reserve funds had balances that were not supported.
For the last five fiscal years, district officials underestimated revenues by a total of $7.2 million and overestimated expenditures by a total of $4.4 million. These budgeting practices caused unexpended surplus funds to significantly exceed the statutory limit each year.
Over the last five years, the district appropriated nearly $3.6 million of unexpended surplus funds and budgeted for expenditures from its reserves in its budgets. Although unexpended surplus and reserve funds were included in the budgets as financing sources, the district did not actually use the surplus funds because expenditures were significantly less than what had been estimated.
For access to state and local government spending and nearly 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.