New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of Baldwin Union Free School District, Catskill Central School District, Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free School District, Mechanicville City School District, Rhinebeck Central School District, Riverhead Central School District and Washingtonville Central School District.
"In today's fiscal climate, budget transparency and accountability for our local communities is a top priority," said DiNapoli. "By auditing municipal finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively."
District officials did not adequately monitor non-instructional employee overtime. There was no documented pre-approval for any of the overtime reviewed and all overtime was approved after the overtime was worked.
Budget appropriations were overestimated by nearly $11 million over the past five years. Additionally, unrestricted fund balance totaled $5.5 million as of June 30, 2016 and was 14 percent of 2016-17 budgeted appropriations, exceeding the statutory limit by $3.9 million.
From 2013-14 through 2015-16, the district appropriated approximately $2.2 million of fund balance on average to help finance the budget each year. However, none of it was needed because the board and district officials overestimated appropriations each year by an average of $4.6 million. District officials developed and implemented adequate written policies and procedures over the payroll process to ensure the accuracy of the compensation paid and benefits provided to employees.
District officials annually overestimated appropriations from 2013-14 through 2015-16. The budgets overestimated appropriations by almost $4.6 million. The district's fund balance increased by more than $2.7 million and exceeded the statutory limit by 13.3 percentage points at the end of 2015-16.
District officials need to improve internal controls to help ensure that extra-classroom activity cash receipts are properly accounted for. District officials are unable to ensure that students are remitting funds to the central treasurer in a timely manner. Student treasurers did not always maintain cash receipt and disbursement ledgers and none of them prepared profit and loss statements for fundraising activities.
Officials have not established written policies or procedures for maintaining its vendor master file. Vendor names were duplicated multiple times and each of these vendors had from two to five different vendor identification numbers, representing 41 of the district's active vendors.
The board's adopted budgets overestimated appropriations in the 2012-13 through 2015-16 fiscal years. As a result, the district had significant operating surpluses which caused the fund balance to exceed the statutory limit.
For access to state and local government spending, public authority financial data and information on 140,000 state contracts, visit Open Book New York. The easy-to-use website was created to promote transparency in government and provide taxpayers with better access to financial data.