Main Banner

NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


State Comptroller DiNapoli Releases School Audits

December 20, 2016

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Belfast Central School District, Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Sherman Central School District, Southwestern Central School District and the Warsaw 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.”

Belfast Central School District – Procurement (Allegany County)

Although the board has adopted a procurement policy that requires competition for purchases not subject to bidding requirements, the policy does not clearly establish procedures for procuring professional services. Also, the purchasing agent and claims auditor did not always ensure that purchases were made in compliance with the policy or require district officials to properly document compliance when they sought competition.

Onondaga-Cortland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) – Managed Technical Support (2016M-299)

BOCES did not properly oversee the managed technical support cooperative service agreement, which resulted in errors in reporting reimbursable expenditures to the New York State Education Department (SED). Specifically, BOCES reported district-based staff who were not eligible for aid reimbursement from SED. As a result, BOCES claimed $2.5 million in additional aid to which it was not entitled.

Sherman Central School District – Claims Processing (Chautauqua County)

The board and district officials have not developed adequate written policies and procedures governing the claims processing function. In addition, the board did not develop a comprehensive job description that outlines the claims auditor’s expectations and requirements. The claims auditor compares invoices against only the purchase orders, which does not always provide adequate documentation about the vendors’ prices. The claims auditor does not compare invoices against quotes, bids or government contracts, and there is no policy that requires that these documents be attached to the claims.

Southwestern Central School District – Claims Processing (Chautauqua County)

The board delegated its responsibility to a claims auditor who generally ensured claims were adequately supported, properly audited before payment and in compliance with district policies. The claims auditor verified that claims were supported by original documentation such as detailed invoices or receipts and that each claim had been properly authorized.

Warsaw Central School District – Financial Management (Wyoming County)

Although the board and district officials reported unrestricted fund balance levels that were in accordance with statutory limits, they have annually appropriated fund balance towards the next year’s budget that was not used due to a practice of overestimating appropriations. This trend is projected to continue through 2015-16. Once the unused appropriated fund balance is included in unrestricted fund balance, the district’s recalculated unrestricted fund balance exceeds the statutory limit, ranging from approximately $2.4 million (12 percent) in 2012-13 to $930,000 (5 percent) in 2014-15. In addition, three reserves totaling approximately $3.8 million were overfunded, and the debt reserve totaling approximately $600,000 has not been used since 2010-11 for related debt principal and interest payments, as statutorily required.

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.