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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

State Education Department
Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program: Monitoring of Health and Safety Requirements (Follow-Up)


Issued: March 5, 2018
Link to full audit report 2017-F-30
Link to 30-day response

Purpose
To determine the extent of implementation of the two recommendations included in our initial audit report, Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program: Monitoring of Health and Safety Requirements (Report 2016-S-10).

Background
The Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program provides four-year-old children access, at no charge, to comprehensive early childhood education experiences that promote their social-emotional, creative expressive/aesthetic, physical, cognitive, linguistic, and cultural development. The UPK program is administered by the State Education Department (Department), and oversight is conducted primarily through the Office of Early Learning for program functions and the Facilities Planning Office for safety and fire inspections. Department regulations require buildings and classrooms used for UPK to be safe and to comply with applicable fire safety, health, and building codes, and for equipment and furnishings to be safe and suitable for children and maintained in a state of good repair and sanitation.

Our initial audit report, which was issued December 20, 2016 covering the period January 1, 2013 through August 4, 2017, determined whether the Department’s monitoring of the UPK providers’ compliance with applicable health and safety regulations was sufficient. We found the Department did not directly monitor UPK providers for health and safety. Instead, the Department relied on the school district operating the UPK program, or the Office of Children and Family Services, to ensure that UPK providers were complying with health and safety requirements. In addition, we found a wide disparity in the way UPK providers were being monitored for health and safety. Some providers were being inspected regularly for health and safety, while others were reviewed mainly for program curriculum. Finally, we found there was a lack of consistency in how school districts were inspecting their UPK provider locations for health and safety compliance.

Key Finding
Department officials have made some progress in addressing the issues we identified in the initial audit. Of the two prior audit recommendations, one recommendations has been implemented and one has been partially implemented.

Key Recommendation
Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up review to provide information on any actions that are planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this review.

Other Related Audit/Report of Interest
State Education Department: Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program: Monitoring of Health and Safety Requirements (2016-S-10)


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Stephen Goss
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