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Frontier School District needs more oversight of spending, audit finds

Frontier Central School District paid nine professionals $467,000, but the district could not document how or why they were hired, according to an audit by the office of state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

The services provided by the outside professionals were legitimate, the audit found. But it said the School Board did not adopt a comprehensive policy or ensure written procedures were followed.

The audit means the district needs to review "a lot of process and procedures," said Superintendent Richard Hughes. "It's updating what we have."

Auditors looked at the hiring of 14 professional service providers who were paid about $1.46 million from July 1, 2016, through March 6, 2018, to determine if competitive bids, requests for proposals and written or verbal quotes were used.

The district documented that competition was used to hire three insurance and auditing providers, and documented why it was not used in selecting an equipment maintenance vendor and in paying legal fees that were required in a legal settlement agreement.

But there was no documentation on how nine other vendors for physician services, attorneys, student services consulting, healthcare consulting and lead and asbestos testing were hired.

"Because the board did not adopt a comprehensive purchasing policy and ensure adequate written procedures were developed for procuring professional services, district officials cannot ensure that these procurements were made in the most prudently economical manner," the audit states.

It recommends the board review and update the purchasing policy to make sure it includes specifics on how to obtain professional services, and the district agreed.

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