SCHROON LAKE – A minor state audit of Schroon Lake Central School showed that checks were sometimes printed before the district’s claims auditor had approved them.

The State Comptroller’s Office did a recent claims audit of the district, saying claims totaling $172,760 for 35 check disbursements and 50 non-check disbursements made during the audit period were not audited and approved before vendors got their money.

WILL NOW WAIT

District officials said they will no longer follow that practice, but will instead wait for claims to be OK’d by the auditor before paying the vendors.

“Our district treasurer has eliminated the practice of printing and signing checks before the internal auditor has reviewed the claims,” Superintendent Stephen Gratto said in a letter to state officials.

“Shortly after this issue was brought to our attention, we began printing actual checks after the billing information had been provided to and approved by the internal auditor.”

BEFORE APPROVAL

The superintendent said he will also ask the School Board to pass a resolution authorizing payment in advance of audit for those claims allowed by state education law.

The state auditors said all claims were supported by adequate documentation and were for allowed purposes, some were just paid before internal approval. The district’s claims auditor later reviewed and approved them.

The paid bills were for things like conference attendance by employees, utilities and school supplies.

CORRECTIVE PLAN

Some, such as utilities, can still be paid in advance, the audit said, but only if the School Board has passed a resolution allowing such approval.

Gratto said the district plans to do so.

The superintendent said the district is in agreement with the audit and has developed a corrective action plan.

The audit covered July 2017 to February 2019, with $4.8 million in bills during that period.