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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

State Education Department
Benchmark Family Services, Inc.
Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual


Issued: December 29, 2016
Link to full audit report 2016-S-47
Link to 90-day response

Purpose
To determine whether the costs reported by Benchmark Family Services, Inc. (BFS) 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). The audit covered the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013.

Background
BFS, a for-profit organization located in Watertown, New York, is an SED-approved provider of preschool special education services. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, BFS provided Preschool Special Education Itinerant Teacher services and Preschool Integrated Special Class services to 94 children with learning disabilities from school districts located in Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties. The counties pay tuition to BFS for its preschool special education services using reimbursement rates set by SED; the State, in turn, reimburses the counties 59.5 percent of the preschool special education tuition that the counties pay. SED sets the reimbursement rates based on financial information, including costs, that BFS reports to SED on its annual CFR. To be eligible for reimbursement, reported costs must comply with the guidelines in the RCM. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, BFS reported $669,689 in reimbursable costs on its CFR for the two rate-based preschool special education programs it operated.

Key Finding

  • For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, the personal service costs claimed by BFS that we tested were in compliance with SED’s requirements for reimbursement. However, we identified $18,012 in other than personal service costs that BFS reported that did not comply with SED’s requirements.

Key Recommendations

To SED:

  • Review the disallowances identified by our audit and, if warranted, make the necessary adjustments to the costs reported on BFS’s CFR and to BFS’s tuition reimbursement rates.
  • Remind BFS officials of the pertinent SED requirements that relate to the deficiencies we identified.

To BFS :

  • 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

Rochester Childfirst Network, Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2016-S-15)
The Child Development Council, Inc., Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2016-S-22)


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