State audit finds Roslyn school district to be fiscally responsible

A presentation of the district's independent audit was given at Thursday's board of education meeting. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

For the 2017-18 school year, the Roslyn school district put forth a budget that “met its educational needs while remaining fiscally responsible,” accountant Jill Sanders said at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting when presenting the district’s independent audit report.

The district spent $1,953,288 less than its budget of $108,238,797 for the fiscal year that ended on June 30. The unused funds resulted from health care costs not rising as much as expected and the lowering of the teacher retirement system rate last November.

Actual revenue in the district exceeded the estimated budget for revenues by $1,265,450. The surplus resulted from the district receiving more money than anticipated from the tuition of outside students, which is difficult to predict, along with revenue accrued through interest.

The excess funds were reallocated to the district’s 2015 and 2017 capital reserves.

The district’s largest expenditure is instruction and its largest source of revenue is property taxes and STAR, which is a program for school tax relief.

Sanders’ firm, Cullen & Danowski LLC, produced unmodified opinions in regard to the district’s financial statements and internal controls, meaning the auditors found that the financial statements accurately reflected the district’s financial condition during the 2017-18 school year in compliance with financial reporting standards.  

The only two adjustments recommended by the firm had to do with the classification of the fund balance, which the business office would not know how to handle before completion of the audit, Sanders said.

One of the adjustments referred to an overage in the district’s workers compensation fund, Joseph Dragone, the assistant superintendent for business and administration, said. Once the business office finished going through its financial statements it wanted to reduce the amount of money in the fund due to having less liability since becoming a member of the Nassau County Cooperative Workers’ Compensation Self-Insured Plan. The office was unable to complete the reduction in time and instead the reclassification was completed by the auditors.

“The Board of Education should take comfort that the information that comes to you throughout the year is good information because your auditor is not needing to adjust that information, “ Sanders said.

In a management letter included with the report, the auditors noted two districtwide suggestions.

In regard to extracurricular activity funds, which are not under the control of the business office, the firm recommended that the district be more timely with deposits and that it hire an additional staff member to handle financial transactions who is different than the employee who records the transactions.

The second suggestion was that “the district continues to work with its capital assets management company to resolve the multiple reporting issues” found when attempting to audit the fund this year and last year.

For the 2017 and 2018 audits, the firm noted errors in listed file locations and found that some assets could not be cross-referenced to the inventory control records. For this year’s audit, the district hired a third party to “conduct a district-wide capital assets inventory, and establish the capital asset inventory records,” the report said.

The capital asset management company performed the inventory in April, but the reports received by the district in August disclosed that the records were not complete and there were a number of errors and misclassifications.

Despite the district’s efforts to resolve the issue, it was found that the new records would not be sufficient for the audit of capital assets to be conducted.

The firm’s recommendation for the district to continue to work with its capital asset management company is so the new reporting system will be prepared to use for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

“For a district of this size to have two operational suggestions talks to the real controls that are in place and the procedures that support the controls and the seriousness of the staff that is involved with the financial operations of the district,” Sanders said.

No written communications were sent to the district regarding discrepancies in reporting or financial statements.


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