Thirty-one of 50 Port Washington school district purchase claims reviewed by the state comptroller’s office did not contain the required quotes, bids and contracts, according to an audit.

The audit, conducted by the state comptroller’s office and released Tuesday, said because of the missing information “the claims auditor could not conduct a thorough audit of claims.”

Reviewing information from July 1, 2014, to May 31, 2016, the comptroller’s office said in the report that the audit’s objective was to “evaluate district controls over claims processing and inventories.”

The district provided the appropriate documentation “to support the prices noted on the purchase orders for all but three of the 31 claims,” Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Mooney said.

The other three claims totalled $25,000, Mooney said.

The audit also found that 41 of the claims totaling $277,418 didn’t have receiving documents or packing slips attached to the voucher packages, and that 28 open purchase orders totaling $91,745 showed that 10 were overspent by $49,001.

The Port Washington Board of Education designated a claims auditor for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, but the audit shows that the claims auditor did not receive the necessary training “to carry out the policy.”

Three recommendations to the district were made in the audit: “Ensure that all claims are supported by relevant documents, ensure that the claims auditor is properly trained, ensure that a count of all stored goods is conducted at least once a year.”

In a response to the comptroller’s audit, Mooney said, “the district agrees that all claims should be supported by relevant documents including packing slips and that the claims auditor will receive additional external training.”

The claims officer was trained by the district’s internal and external auditors, the audit said, but Mooney said the internal auditing firm will provide 15 hours of additional training. 

Mooney said the district takes the audit seriously and agrees with the recommendations, and it has already begun implementing solutions.

The audit also found that the facilities department did not maintain complete records of materials and supplies.

“Although district officials projected they would spend approximately $480,000 on materials and supplies for 2015-16, they have not adopted procedures that establish the duties, records and control procedures for safeguarding inventories and do not have a reconciliation process to verify what was purchased, used for work orders and on hand,” the report said.

Mooney agreed with the audit’s findings, saying “policies and procedures to protect purchased supplies needs to be developed and inventories should be verified.”

Mooney said a consultant was hired in June to begin taking inventory of the items owned by the department and that the district is canvassing for a supervisor of operations who will oversee a process to dispense inventory.

By Stephen Romano
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