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School, municipal audits released

ALBANY - State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office completed audits of the following school districts:

Brighter Choice Charter Middle School for Boys – Financial Operations (Albany County)
School officials do not have a means to determine whether the school received the services outlined in its contract with the Brighter Choice Foundation. In addition, the fee structure, based on a percentage of per pupil revenue, does not appear to be reasonable, as the services being provided do not have any bearing on the number of students at the school or the state Education Department’s charter school tuition rate.

Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls – Financial Operations (Albany County)
School officials do not have a means to determine whether the school received the services outlined in its contract with the Brighter Choice Foundation. In addition, auditors found that the school did not budget properly. For both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years, the school’s total expenses were underestimated. This resulted in a smaller net income than anticipated in the 2011-12 fiscal year and a loss in the 2012-13 fiscal year for which a net income had been planned.

Frewsburg Central School District – Internal Controls Over Selected Financial Activities (Chautauqua County)
District officials did not adopt policies governing the establishment and use of reserve funds and could not demonstrate the reasonableness of reserve balances. As a result, two of the district’s reserve funds had balances that totaled $3.1 million more than needed for authorized purposes, and three of the district’s reserve funds had balances that were not supported.

Holley Central School District – Financial Condition (Orleans County)
For the last five fiscal years, district officials underestimated revenues by a total of $7.2 million and overestimated expenditures by a total of $4.4 million. These budgeting practices caused unexpended surplus funds to significantly exceed the statutory limit each year.

Homer Central School District – Financial Condition (Cayuga County)
Over the last five years, the district appropriated nearly $3.6 million of unexpended surplus funds and budgeted for expenditures from its reserves in its budgets. Although unexpended surplus and reserve funds were included in the budgets as financing sources, the district did not actually use the surplus funds because expenditures were significantly less than what had been estimated.

 

Also released were the following Municipal Audits:

Albany County Probation Department – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-340)
County officials have not ensured that the department account clerks’ financial duties were adequately segregated. The clerks’ ability to control all cash receipts and disbursement functions increases the risk that funds could be misappropriated without detection. Also, although the department has established policies for disbursing restitution money retained in a victims’ trust fund, officials have not disbursed these funds in a timely manner.

Town of Java – Water Accountability (Wyoming County)
Town officials do not have written procedures for reconciling the water produced by the town’s water system with the water billed to the town’s customers. For the audit period, the town could not account for 53 percent of the water produced. Auditors estimate that the town lost $23,327 in revenue if the unaccounted-for water was due to malfunctioning meters. If the unaccounted-for water is due to leaks rather than malfunctioning meters, the town is incurring excess costs for producing water.

Virgil Fire District – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (Cortland County)
The district board does not provide adequate oversight of district financial activities. Officials did not ensure there were proper controls over cash disbursements or ensure the treasurer was performing her duties properly. In addition, the treasurer has not filed the annual update document with the Comptroller’s office for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.