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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Hamburg Central School District – Capital Project (2014M-129)

Released: August 8, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the District’s use of capital project resources for the period July 1, 2010 through March 26, 2014.


The Hamburg Central School District is located in the Towns of Hamburg, Boston, Eden and Orchard Park in Erie County. The District is governed by a Board of Education which comprises seven elected members. The District operates six schools with 3,765 students and 548 full-time employees. The District’s budgeted appropriations for the 2013-14 are $60.3 million.

Key Findings

  • We found that taxpayers were not properly informed prior to voting on the Project proposition. Certain items in the Summary were not sufficiently detailed for the taxpayer to know exactly what work was to be performed and what furnishings and equipment were going to be purchased.
  • The District has set aside over $6.6 million for general construction and site work contracts, which was not part of the Project’s original scope.
  • The Board President did not approve all change orders and allowance disbursement forms, as required by NYSED. In addition, none of the allowance disbursement forms were approved by NYSED.
  • We found that the equipment purchased was generally within the Project’s scope. However, we found that the District purchased projectors for science classrooms totaling $63,040 without competitively bidding, as required.

Key Recommendations

  • Provide voters with specific information on what will be included in a proposed capital project, including quantities, details and locations where the work will be performed.
  • Ensure that the District stays within the scope of the capital project. If additional work is needed, the District should obtain voter approval.
  • Approve all change orders (and allowance disbursement forms) in accordance with NYSED requirements and ensure they only address conditions that could not have been reasonably anticipated during project planning.
  • Ensure that purchases are competitively bid as required by statute.

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