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Lake Placid school audit being revisited

August 13, 2009
By HEATHER SACKETT, For the Enterprise

LAKE PLACID -The Office of the State Comptroller is following up to see if the Lake Placid Central School District has implemented the changes to certain procedures that were recommended in an audit released by the office in 2007.

The audit covered the period from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2006.

Lake Placid is one of 34 districts statewide that were chosen for a follow-up review. The audit report from two years ago found that the district levied $190,000 more in taxes than needed. The audit also found weaknesses in the district's controls over claims processing and that the district had no written policy covering the processing of payroll that resulted in the payroll clerk developing her own informal procedures.

"We wanted to go back to these school districts and hold them accountable," said Emily DeSantis, spokeswoman for the comptroller's office. "There's a level of accountability to the local taxpayers."

DeSantis said the comptroller's office chose a cross-section of schools with a variety of problems for the follow-up review. The office is in the middle of auditing every school district in the state by 2010.

The Lake Placid schools' interim superintendent, Ernie Stretton, who was superintendent at the time of the audit, said all the problems have been corrected.

"The district did not do anything illegal," he said. "They were all minor kinds of things. They were all corrected before (the auditors) walked out the door."

Stretton said that in March 2007, he sent the comptroller's office a 10-page letter detailing how the district would correct all the things that were brought up to them. Stretton added that the district never spent more than what the voters approved.

"We didn't spend $190,000," he said. "We certainly didn't violate some state law."

The results of the review will be available in three or four months, DeSantis said.



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