Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that legislation he has sponsored (S.5050A) to improve the accountability of school district finances has been signed by the Governor.
"I am very pleased that Governor Pataki has signed this legislation," said Senator Saland. " Defrauding school districts is tantamount to stealing from children. Schools, and in turn taxpayers, will now have greater assurance that measures are being taken so that all school expenditures will be closely scrutinized.These new measures will put checks in place to prevent unscrupulous behavior and allow more ready identification in the case of criminal activity."
Financial scandals at two Long Island school districts, Roslyn and William Floyd, have eroded public trust and confidence and highlight the need for increased oversight and accountability.
The five point plan would:
> 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 RFP process for selecting auditors when contracts expire, or at least every five years;
> 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 legislation 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.