Thursday, January 23, 2014

Comptroller DiNapoli's audits nab two Rochester charters

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:29 PM

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released the results of audits of eight charter schools today, including two schools in Rochester: Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School and True North Rochester Preparatory School. The audits for both schools are critical of some practices and recommends changes.

At Eugenio Maria de Hostos, the audit was critical of real estate leases that the school entered into, as well as procurement of technical office equipment.

“These findings are of particular concern because the leases and contracts were entered into with organizations having various types of business or occupational relationships with members of the Board or their family or friends," the audit says. "Under these circumstances, it is questionable whether the leases and contracts were in the best interest of the School." 

The problem at True North Rochester Prep was different. That audit says the school was not consistent in its precautions to protect children with regard to fingerprinting and criminal background checks of employees and service providers.

“We found that the School did not consistently comply with the law and guidance regarding fingerprint-supported criminal background checks,” the audit charges.

By failing to file appropriate employee background checks and updated clearance requests with the State Education Department, the school would not be notified of an arrest, either prior or subsequent to an employee's hire. This could compromise the safety of students, the audit says.

Officials at both charter schools have been made aware of the problems, the audits say, and they've agreed to the recommendations made by the comptroller’s office to address them. The Eugenio Maria de Hostos audit covered the period from July 2011 to December 2012. True North's practices were audited from July 2011 to August 2013. 

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