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NYS Comptroller


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State Education Department
Aspire of Western New York
Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual

Issued: December 29, 2014
Link to full audit report 2014-S-36
Link to 90-day response

To determine whether the costs reported by Aspire of Western New York (Aspire) on its Consolidated Fiscal Report (CFR) were properly calculated, adequately documented and allowable under the State Education Department’s (SED’s) guidelines, including the Reimbursable Cost Manual (RCM). The audit covered the one year period ending December 31, 2012.

Aspire provides a wide range of services to children with disabilities from birth through age 21, including preschool special education services for children between the ages of three and five years. Pursuant to the State Education Law, providers such as Aspire are reimbursed by counties through rates set by SED. SED sets the special education tuition rates based on financial information, including costs, reported by providers on their annual CFR. To be eligible for reimbursement, the provider's reported costs must comply with the guidelines specified in the RCM. For the year ended December 31, 2012, Aspire reported approximately $3.8 million in reimbursable costs for the preschool special education programs we audited.

Key Finding

  • We identified $7,501 in costs that did not comply with SED’s requirements for reimbursement. The costs included $5,262 in consultant services and $2,239 in various other-than-personal-service costs such as entertainment and food expenses. We also identified $32,377 in questionable costs for consultant services that either were not selected through solicitation of competitive bids or lacked sufficient evidence that the services were the most economical and/or appropriate.

Key Recommendations

To the State Education Department:

  • Review the disallowances identified by our audit and, if warranted, make the necessary adjustments to Aspire’s reimbursement rates.
  • Remind Aspire officials of the pertinent SED guidelines that relate to the deficiencies we identified.

To Aspire:

  • Ensure that costs reported on annual CFRs fully comply with SED’s requirements.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest

SED: The Norman Howard School - Compliance With the Reimbursable Cost Manual (2012-S-18)

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