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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

State Education Department
Unity House of Troy
Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual


Issued: November 05, 2015
Link to full audit report 2014-S-60
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether the costs submitted by Unity House of Troy (Unity) on its Consolidated Fiscal Report (CFR) were properly calculated, adequately documented, and allowable under the State Education Department’s (SED) guidelines, including the Reimbursable Cost Manual (RCM). Our audit covered the calendar year ended December 31, 2012.

Background
Unity is an SED-approved, not-for-profit special education provider located in Troy, New York. Unity provides a variety of services to the community including preschool special education services to children with disabilities between the ages of three and five years. Unity is reimbursed for preschool special education services through rates set by SED. The reimbursement rates are based on financial information, including costs, that Unity reports to SED on its annual CFR. To be eligible for reimbursement, reported costs must comply with RCM requirements. For the calendar year ended December 31, 2012, Unity reported approximately $6.85 million in reimbursable costs on its CFR for the rate-based preschool special education programs it operated.

Key Findings

For the calendar year ended December 31, 2012, Unity claimed $404,952 in ineligible costs for its rate-based preschool special education programs. The ineligible costs included:

  • $322,258 in personal service costs (including $312,543 in salary and fringe benefits and $9,715 in severance pay). Specifically, Unity claimed two teacher aide positions that were already included on the CFR in a different category, too many hours per day for certain direct care positions, and the personal service costs for one of its classrooms for a full year, although the classroom operated for only part of the year; and
  • $82,694 in other than personal service costs, which included $46,878 in costs that were incorrectly calculated, $13,653 in costs that were not related to the programs, $11,143 in gifts, $5,132 in food, $3,698 in fundraising, and $2,190 in other non-reimbursable costs.

Key Recommendations

To SED:

  • Review the disallowances identified by our audit and adjust Unity’s CFRs and tuition reimbursement rates, as appropriate.
  • Remind Unity officials of the pertinent SED guidelines that relate to the deficiencies we cited.

To Unity:

  • Ensure that costs reported on annual CFRs fully comply with SED’s requirements, and communicate with SED to obtain clarification as needed.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Whispering Pines Preschool, Inc.: Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2013-S-48)
Whitestone School for Child Development: Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2014-S-38)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Andrea Inman
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