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BH-BL schools get good grade

Two-phase process

State auditors start each school analysis with an in-depth review of multiple areas of district records.

"They look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in financial controls, especially in areas where other districts have been found to have problems," said School Business Administrator Dina Edgar. "This review covers such areas as payroll, inventory records, purchasing, banking and investments, cash receipts, cell phone billing, credit card activity, network security, conference and travel expenses, and reimbursements to individuals."

Phase two in the state audit is a detailed examination of weak areas.

"The reviewers did not identify any areas at Burnt Hills that would require further auditing, but his team is required to prepare a report on every district regardless," said Edgar.

Since payroll is a high-risk area for any employer, the auditors focused on this with an inspection called "internal controls over payroll processing." This detailed review also failed to uncover any reportable problems.

The auditors did recommend that BH-BL could reduce the potential risk of fraud by hiring a second payroll clerk, but St. Onge said it was unnecessary to incur this additional expense.

"Instead, procedures were changed so that payroll changes cannot take effect without being reviewed by other existing staff members," said St. Onge.

District historically scores high

Receiving a clean audit report from the state is becoming a regular occurrence for BH-BL business office staff. The district has a track record of across-the-board clean audits for every year since 1987 from external auditing company Dorfman-Robbie, P.C.

"We've been tightening up our procedures, making sure everything is in writing and learning from the experience of other districts for the past two years," said Edgar. "The pressure was intense, but this is the best pat on the back a business office can get."

The complete report is available on the state comptroller's Web site at: http://osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/2007/schools/index.htm ""

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