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Bemus Point Officials Question Audits Of School District

The Bemus Point Central School Board of Education is pictured in July 2019. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

Bemus Point Central School District officials describe two audit reports released today by the New York State Comptroller’s Office as “very misleading” and “disheartening.”

One audit report states the district “overestimated appropriations” of $3.1 million from the 2016-17 school year to the 2018-19 school year. The same report states the district “improperly restricted more than $260,000 in its trust and agency fund.” Furthermore, the state comptroller said the district exceeded the statutory surplus fund balance limit by $74,000 as June 30, 2019.

A second audit report charges the district with a lack of transparency regarding a $16.5 million district-wide capital improvement project. Additionally, the comptroller’s report claimed the district “did not approve change orders or competitively bid seven change orders totaling $362,000 that exceeded the statutory bid limit” during the project.

In each report, the district submitted its response questioning the audit process and how the information was reported. Barry Swanson, Bemus Point Central School Board of Education president, provided a statement regarding the reports earlier today.

“After taking seven months to review all records of the District, the Comptroller published their report on Financial Management because our surplus fund balance is currently one-half percent, or $75,000, over the four percent statutory limit,” Swanson told The Post-Journal. “The Board has expressed their objection to the misleading format in which the comptroller chooses to present these findings.

“The Board wishes to make the public aware that we take our duty to be fiscally responsible and transparent to our taxpayers very seriously,” he continued. “The full audit report and district response will be presented at the March board meeting.”

See tomorrow’s edition for more coverage.