BOARD OF REGENTS
Regent 2008 Board Report: Audits
Safeguarding Taxpayers' Investments
The Regents use timely feedback on the fiscal condition of school districts and the status of internal control systems to ensure the appropriate use of taxpayer funds. This information is critical to the Board in meeting its goal of ensuring that resources under our care will be used or maintained in the public interest. It is also an important tool for the Board to use in making policy decisions that impact district finances.
Even during the best of financial times, it is wise policy to closely monitor the ways in which the public's money is spent – to ensure that their investment is protected against mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse. Several years ago – following a series of highly publicized acts in which taxpayer money was stolen by school district employees – new rules were enacted to require all school board members to be trained in financial oversight, accountability, and fiduciary responsibility. That was an important first step.
But in today's economic climate, even more needs to be done. It's no longer simply about rooting out inappropriate or illegal activity. Now, it's also about doing our work more efficiently, effectively and economically. One way to do this is through the voluntary sharing of business office functions through BOCES. Appropriate safeguards would need to be established, but a reasonable solution could surely be found. The Board will continue to work with our partners to ensure that the Education Department and our schools always operate in ways that are open, transparent, and efficient.
March 20, 2009