School Audit Letter, Corrective Action Plan Released

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The main entrance to Pierson Middle-High School.

The Sag Harbor School District on Tuesday released an edited version of a letter from an auditing firm filled with suggestions for how the district can improve its operations.

One item — regarding management of the Sag Harbor Afterschool Elementary Program, an issue recently identified by the New York State comptroller — has been removed altogether, as superintendent Katy Graves said they told the auditors they had already fixed the problems the comptroller had found. Another item, regarding the filing of state forms seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in reimbursements for summer programs for disabled students, has been edited to simply note there are outstanding funds remaining to be collected from the state and to recommend the district “investigate the collectability” of the money.

The rest of the management letter, which recommended the segregation of duties and tightening of controls in some areas, remains the same.

“I welcome their feedback because it gives us a lens to look at the things we need to focus on,” Ms. Graves said Wednesday. “They are management pieces that can be fairly easily fixed with some focus, so I would not consider them major, but they should be handled in the coming months. That’s what the corrective action plan is about.”

In the action plan, for the summer program for disabled students, the district partially attributed the discrepancy between available funding and what was actually received to an over-estimation of students’ needs on the part of the administration. “Going forward the district will plan to estimate receivables … by better communication between the district’s pupil personnel services office and business office,” the plan reads.

Also in the action plan, a deficit in the school lunch fund was partially attributed to the one-time purchase of some new equipment. The district also notes lunch prices “have not been increased in a number of years.”

“The district will work with a combination of new measures that will enable us to at least operate at a break-even point by the end of this calendar year,” the plan reads.

The documents are publicly available via the BoardDocs system, which can be accessed at boarddocs.com/ny/sag/Board.nsf/Public.

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