New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Alexandria Central School District, Lyons Central School District, Pearl River Union Free School District and the Valhalla Union Free 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.”
Although the district appropriated fund balance each year, the adopted budgets actually produced operating surpluses. As a result, the district’s unassigned fund balance has exceeded statutory limits during the past three years. Also, the district maintained reserve funds but had no plans for their use.;
The district’s multiyear financial and capital plans are not comprehensive because they lack certain information, including the funding and use of reserves, grant funding, capital improvements, long-term maintenance on capital improvements and bus purchases. Additionally, district officials have not adequately analyzed reserves to determine if they were established and funded properly and whether existing balances are appropriate and necessary.
District officials did not follow or enforce compliance with the procurement policy when purchases were not subject to competitive bidding requirements. As a result, purchases were made without the benefit of price comparisons and without sufficient documentation to support the basis for the selection of vendors.
District officials overestimated certain expenditure items for four consecutive fiscal years and underestimated revenues in two of the four fiscal years, creating cumulative operating surpluses of over $7.9 million. The balances of two reserves – the unemployment insurance reserve and the retirement contribution reserve – were more than the potential costs and had not been used for their established purposes since being established in 2011.
For access to state and local government spending and 50,000 state contracts, visit OpenBookNY. 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.