By ASHLEIGH LIVINGSTON Press-Republican
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh City School District received a clean audit from the Office of State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“Plattsburgh just received the single cleanest audit in northern New York,” said City School Superintendent James “Jake” Short at a recent board meeting. “In fact, we may be in the top 1 percent of the state.
“It is an incredible accomplishment.”
Public schools are subject to many kinds of audits, he noted; however, “the king of all audits is the comptroller’s audit,” which is carried out once every five years and aggressively examines all aspects of a district for fiscal accountability.
The City School’s 2013 comptroller’s audit, which took several months to conduct, covered the period from July 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2012.
‘A VERY BIG DEAL’
The first phase of the process typically involves state auditors identifying areas of risk within a district, explained City School Associate Superintendent Jay Lebrun.
During the second phase, those areas are tested, and depending on the findings, the Comptroller’s Office makes recommendations to the district about how to reduce risk.
“They found no evident area of risk in their first phase,” Lebrun said, “so they used the default area test in school districts, which is payroll ... and in testing that, they had no recommendations, so it was a no-findings audit, or a clean audit.”
The associate superintendent noted that he has found no other districts in Clinton, Essex or Franklin counties and very few schools or municipal governments across the state that have achieved such an accomplishment.
“I believe this is a very big deal,” he said.
Lebrun credited the success, in part, to the district’s Business Office.
“I’m fortunate to work with some exceptional colleagues in the Business Office,” he said. “They do a great job.”
In addition, he noted, even before the comptroller began requiring schools to undergo the process, Plattsburgh City School Board took it upon itself to hire a consultant to audit the district.
“This district’s Board of Education, many years ago, well before the laws reflected such, recognized the importance of fiscal accountability,” he said.
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