On Tap for $500,000 More In Proposed State Budget
The SCO Family of Services (SCO), a provider of extended school day programs for the State Education Department (SED), submitted $194,320 in reimbursement claims for expenses that were unnecessary, not allowable or unrelated to its programs, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“Children who need help staying off the streets should not be shortchanged by contractors cutting corners and reaping the benefits of lax state oversight,” DiNapoli said. “The State Education Department needs to step up and do a better job of making sure that taxpayers are only paying for appropriate costs.”
SCO has two contracts worth $2.7 million to provide extended school day services for the SED. SCO provides academic, arts and music activities during non-school hours to children who attend high-poverty, low-performing schools.
The SFY 2014-15 executive budget proposes a $500,000 grant to SCO to expand its five-day-a-week School Age Child Care/Afterschool Program.
DiNapoli’s auditors, however, found that more than 30 percent of SCO’s prior reimbursements were misspent on inappropriate costs, including:
- $90,348 to pay staff who worked when the program was not operating;
- $29,360 for three instructors not assigned to the grant;
- $11,188 for the SCO educational coordinator who did not work for the extended day program;
- $3,173 for an adult aerobics class; and
- $2,670 for disc jockey services.
DiNapoli’s auditors recommended the SED recover the inappropriate payments, ensure SCO compliance with its contract terms and take steps to increase monitoring of all extended school day programs, including those run by SCO.
Although SED agreed with the report’s findings, DiNapoli’s auditors later determined SED has not corrected the conditions that allowed the inappropriate payments. For example, in January 2014, a payment request of $79,000 for SCO was rejected by the Comptroller’s Office because the request did not include any supporting documentation to ensure the payment was valid.
For a copy of the report, visit: http://osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/bseaudits/bse20140225.htm