Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) announced that two bills he cosponsored creating new, improved accountability measures for school district finances have been signed into law by Governor George Pataki.
"The reckless abandonment of the public’s trust exhibited by some unscrupulous school officials jeopardizes the educational needs of our children," stated Senator Fuschillo. "These educational reforms are measures to restore the public’s confidence in Boards of Education and are a step forward in eliminating potential misuse of taxpayer dollars."
The first new law is based on a five point plan that was developed in consultation with the Office of the State Comptroller, the New York State School Boards Association, the New York State Society for Certified Public Accountants, the New York State Council of School Superintendents, and the New York State Association of Business Officials.
The five point plan will:
- Enhance the effectiveness of external audits which all school districts are required to obtain every year;
- Require audit committees in school districts so that audit findings and other accountability issues receive adequate oversight;
- Require a competitive process for selecting auditors;
- Create an internal audit function within each school district’s financial management team; and
- Require six hours of financial oversight training for all newly elected school board members.
The second new law requires every school district, BOCES and charter school in the state to be audited by the State Comptroller in the next five years. Following this five year period, the Comptroller will establish a policy for auditing the schools throughout the state. The Comptroller must also report the findings of the audits to the Governor and the Legislature.
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