New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Garden City Union Free School District, Gowanda Central School District, Holland Patent Central School District, Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School and the Tully 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.”
District officials have not established a policy or written procedures to ensure that all overtime hours worked by department employees are properly authorized. Overtime payments totaled $41,663, of which $36,723 had not been preapproved. Because district officials have not always required employees to obtain written preapproval for working overtime, there is no assurance that overtime costs are accurate.
District officials overestimated expenditures by a total of $6.2 million during the 2013-14 through 2015-16 fiscal years. Furthermore, when unused appropriated fund balance is added back, the district’s recalculated unrestricted fund balance was in excess of the statutory limit.
District officials granted unnecessary permissions for changing student grades, assuming accounts and identities, and viewing personal, private and sensitive information. As a result, 17 users had permissions to change grades even though they were not responsible for doing so. Because officials do not properly manage permissions or review the SIS audit logs to monitor for inappropriate activity, users could use their access for questionable activity.
The school’s charter requires school officials to obtain at least three quotes for the purchase of goods over $10,000 and to obtain board approval for any purchases that exceed $20,000. However, the charter does not establish procedures for procuring services. The board has not established adequate written policies or procedures for procuring services and has not provided adequate oversight of the procurement process.
The board and officials overestimated expenditures by approximately $4.1 million and underestimated revenues by approximately $900,000 from 2012-13 through 2014-15, which generated more than $5 million in operating surpluses. As a result, approximately $2.6 million of appropriated fund balance was not used to finance operations. In addition, three general fund reserves with balances totaling over $2.9 million as of June 30, 2015 were overfunded or potentially unnecessary.
For access to state and local government spending and nearly 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.