New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Alden Central School District, East Aurora Union Free School District and the Kiryas Joel 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."
The board and district officials did not prepare accurate budgets for the 2012-13 through 2015-16 fiscal years. Appropriated fund balance was never used because the district's budgeting practices produced operating surpluses in all four fiscal years reviewed. When unneeded appropriated fund balance is added back to unrestricted fund balance, unrestricted fund balance exceeds the statutory limit by nine percentage points.
The board did not ensure that high school extra-classroom activity (ECA) funds were properly safeguarded. The board did not adopt an adequate ECA policy to provide comprehensive guidance for district officials and students or appoint a faculty auditor to ensure that receipts were issued, disbursements were supported with adequate documentation and that student ledgers were maintained and reconciled with the central treasurer's records. As a result, the ECA had apparently unaccounted-for cash totaling $3,563.
Kiryas Joel Union Free School District – Financial Condition and Selected Employee Reimbursements (Orange County)
The board and district officials need to improve the budget process to ensure reserves and fund balance are maintained at reasonable levels. From fiscal years 2011-12 through 2015-16, the board adopted budgets that resulted in operating surpluses each year ranging from $216,000 to $2.6 million. The board used surplus funds to increase reserves and accumulate fund balance up to the 4 percent statutory limit. By not establishing adequate reserve policies and not funding reserves through budget appropriations, the board may have missed the opportunity to use fund balance as a financing source, fund one-time expenditures or reduce the tax levy.
For access to state and local government spending and nearly 50,000 state contracts, visit 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.