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NYS Comptroller


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State Education Department
Achievements, PLLC
Compliance with the Reimbursable Cost Manual

Issued: November 20, 2012
Link to full audit report 2011-S-18

To determine whether the costs claimed by Achievements, PLLC (Achievements) on the Consolidated Fiscal Reports (CFRs) were properly calculated, adequately documented, and allowable under the State Education Department's Reimbursable Cost Manual (Manual). The audit covers the five fiscal years ended June 30, 2010.

Achievements is a for-profit corporation, having its principal executive office located in Latham, New York. Achievements' Executive Director is also a co-owner of the business, and her husband is Achievements' Fiscal Director. The Executive Director and Fiscal Director (directors) derive average annual compensation of $148,000 and $138,000 from Achievements, respectively. Achievements provides special education and related services to pre-school children with certain disabilities within Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties ("Counties"). The Counties pay tuition to Achievements using rates set by the State Education Department (SED). SED sets these rates based upon the fiscal information that Achievements presents in the CFRs it submits to SED annually. During the five fiscal years ended June 30, 2010, Achievements reported costs totaling about $8.2 million for the publicly supported pre-school special education programs we audited.

Key Findings

  • We disallowed $182,590 in claimed costs because they were incurred for the personal enrichment of Achievements' directors, their family members, and staff and/or were otherwise ineligible per the Manual. Our audit findings included:
    • $68,072 in disallowances for personal expenses for goods and services not related to Achievements' educational programs. The directors and their family personally benefitted from these expenses - including $12,616 for a home entertainment center delivered and installed in the personal residence of the directors. Other personal expenses included airfares and hotels at various vacation sites such as DisneyWorld, a Carnival Cruise trip, tickets to Dave Matthews and Phish rock concerts, fencing and a dish washer installed at their personal residence and annual membership fees to a family recreation center.
    • $66,225 in excessive charges to lease office space in a building owned by Achievements' directors;
    • $48,293 in other claimed costs (for various personal services and other-than- personalservices) that did not comply with the requirements of the Manual; and
    • non-compliance with the Manual's requirements for time and attendance records, cost allocation methodologies, and other financial management functions.
  • We further found that the directors attempted to conceal their personal charges by intentionally distributing them to various accounts which are used to prepare the CFR.

Key Recommendations

  • SED should review the disallowances identified by our audit and determine if adjustments to Achievements' tuition reimbursement rates are needed.
  • Achievements should ensure that the expenses claimed on the CFR comply with the requirements prescribed by the Manual.
  • We are referring this matter to law enforcement for appropriate action.

Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest

Special Education Associates, Inc: Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2010-S-31
Capital District Beginnings, Inc: Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2011-S-1)

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Brian Mason
Phone:(518) 474-3271; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236