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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Health Sciences Charter School – Procurement (2013M-211)

Released: October 25, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the School’s procurement practices for the period July 1, 2011, to May 3, 2013.


The Health Sciences Charter School is located in the City of Buffalo and is governed by a Board of Trustees. The School’s budgeted expenses for the 2012-13 fiscal year were approximately $4.8 million.

Key Findings

The Board did not ensure that all contracts for goods and services were properly awarded.

  • The School’s Business Office was unable to provide procurement procedure documentation and inconsistencies were found in the purchasing practices/competitive bid process outlined in the School’s charter agreement and the procurement policy.
  • Both policy documents were silent on other key provisions such as when written contracts are required or whether professional services should be procured in a different manner. The documents did not clarify whether thresholds were for individual or aggregate purchases and if quotes should be written or verbal.
  • Even though the School is in its third year of operation with a Principal and a fully functioning Business Office, School officials continue to rely on certain service providers to obtain bids or quotes and select vendors for goods and services such as janitorial services, school uniforms and kitchen supplies.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop and adopt comprehensive procurement policies that align with provisions in the School’s charter agreement and also adequately address other identified procurement deficiencies. Periodically monitor procurement activity to ensure that goods and services are purchased in accordance with policy requirements.
  • Ensure that contracts are entered into, with copies maintained in the Business Office, to identify the nature and cost of services to be provided to the School.
  • Do not rely on outside service providers for selecting vendors on the School’s behalf.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236