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Salmon River fares well in external audit of 2011-12 spending

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FORT COVINGTON – The Salmon River Central School district fared well in an external audit of its 2011-12 spending, auditor Carl Seyfarth told the board of education at its regular meeting this week.

School business executive Natascha Jock said the audit did not cover the St. Regis Mohawk School.

“We give you a gold star,” Mr. Seyfarth said.

He said his team of auditors found no major discrepancies and “didn’t have any findings relative to the Title VII grant,” but suggested that minutes of board meetings and revenue anticipatory notes be written up in a more accurate manner.

“These are suggestions rather than weaknesses in internal controls,” Mr. Seyfarth said.

The district has too much money in its fund balance, according to state education department guidelines. But Mr. Seyfarth said it was in the district’s best interest to go above Albany’s requirement for the reserve fund, which is 4 percent of the 2012-13 budget.

“I don’t know any schools under the 4 percent that are doing well,” he told the board. “You need that cushion.”

If the board did not have the extra money, they would be in danger of having to borrow or run short in the event of unforeseen circumstances, according to Mr. Seyfarth.

Board member Mike Sisto raised a concern about the district giving money to the school’s athletic hall of fame, since it operates as a non-profit organization independently of the board of education.

He asked Mr. Seyfarth if it was all right for the district to donate $150 to pay for plaques to honor students who participated in 10 or more varsity sports. Mr. Seyfarth replied the auditors didn’t closely examine individual spending items that were that small.

“You can’t donate to a non-profits,” Mr. Seyfarth said. “I’d be careful with it.”

“I don’t think the public would have a problem with it,” Mr. Sisto replied.

Last year, when Mr. Seyfarth presented the board with an audit of 2010-11 spending he said the school had issues with filing proper paperwork in regard to projects done with federal grant money and also getting insurance on quality zone academic bonds (QZAB). Those issues did not re-occurin 2011-12.

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