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Shenendehowa makes the grade

The Shenendehowa Central School District came away from a mandatory state audit with high marks.

The results were released by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office on Tuesday, Dec. 16, and revealed that Shenendehowa has been exercising the proper controls over how the district's money is spent.

The district's internal controls over purchasing had been adequately designed and were operating effectively, the report stated.

The audit examined 206 purchases totaling more than $5.4 million between July 1, 2006, and May 30, 2008.

The audit process involves an examination of the school's records and policies, interviews with personnel and a review of purchasing claims made in the past two years. The study focused on the areas of financial oversight, cash receipts and disbursements, purchasing, payroll and personal services and information technology.

The audits are part of an effort to help schools improve their fiscal management policies. The state legislature has mandated that the comptroller audit all of the state's school districts and BOCES programs by 2010.

The most recent round of audits included five other school districts, none of which are located in the Capital District. Notable flaws were discovered in all five, and they will have to be addressed.

"The districts in question would have to submit a corrective action plan to address the findings," said Bill Reynolds, a spokesman for the comptroller's office. He stressed that the audits are meant to help schools operate properly rather than to chastise them.

"More often than not, the school districts understand what they need to do and the requirements they need to meet and they do so," he said.

Though many of the purchases that the district made throughout the time period examined lacked requisite purchasing orders, a newly-appointed claims auditor regularly reviewed such purchases. The comptroller's office praised the district's efforts to beef up existing controls.

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