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New York City Department of Education
Herbert H. Lehman High School: Management of General School Funds (Issued 7/12/12)


Purpose
To determine if Herbert H. Lehman High School officials properly managed and administered the school's General School Funds account and if monies from that account were properly accounted for and spent for the benefit of students. Our audit period covered the months from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2010.

Background
Many public schools in New York City maintain one or more General School Funds (GSF) and related bank accounts. These accounts are used to deposit and account for fees received from students, as well as funds raised by students from bake sales, candy sales, and other fundraising activities. The funds are generally to be used in support of the students and their activities. Between July 2008 and June 2010, Lehman officials deposited $1,167,728 in the school's GSF account and paid out $1,015,169. The account balance on June 30, 2010 was $104,821.

Key Findings

  • We determined that $26,064 in GSF funds were used to pay for items that were not studentrelated or should have been paid for with the school's regular tax levy funds. Examples include $9,450 for music equipment, $9,061 for administrative and other supplies, $956 for a camera, and $660 to reimburse students for personal items that were either lost or damaged at school.
  • Lehman officials did not establish an adequate system of accountability over the operations of the school store, the revenues from which were deposited in the GSF account. There were no inventory records and no system (such as a cash register) to record sales. In fact, daily sales were routinely calculated simply by counting the cash on hand at the end of the day.
  • In 2004, the school's former principal made what appears to be an improper deal with a vendor to forgive $8,046 in charges for photography services at the school prom in exchange for the exclusive 10-year right to similar business. Current school officials had not lived up to these promises and the vendor is now seeking payment.

Key Recommendations

  • Reimburse the GSF account for all tax levy items were purchased with student funds.
  • Improve accountability over school store operations by instituting appropriate financial management practices.
  • Investigate the $8,046 outstanding claim against the school and ensure that all GSF-related bills are paid promptly in the future.

Link to full audit report (2010-N-11)

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest
New York City Department of Education: John F. Kennedy Education Campus: Management of General School Funds Report 2009-N-11


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: John Buyce
Phone:(518) 474-3271; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236