New procedures for small facilities
N.Y. (March 7, 2017) -- The City
School District of Albany is putting in place additional procedures for
evaluation and implementation of small facilities projects following an
independent audit of a classroom renovation.
The audit determined that
the district inadvertently classified a theater classroom project at
Albany High School’s Abrookin Career and Technical Center as routine
maintenance rather than a formal capital project.
The project involved the
upgrade of an unused classroom at Abrookin into instructional space. The
project began in June 2015 and was completed in early 2016.
During that time the scope expanded to include new electrical wiring,
panels, stage lights, and student-constructed stage and seating risers.
As a result, the project cost increased to approximately $131,000.
The auditors found no evidence that any
district funds were missing or misappropriated.
“It is important to note that the independent audit found that all
district employees involved in the process were credible and forthright
with their explanations of what occurred, and were acting in good faith
to meet a long-standing student instructional need that had been
identified as a priority by leadership of the district and Albany High
School,” the board said in a statement on the auditors’ review.
to download the board’s entire statement.
The auditors noted that the district has completed significant capital
work – more than $250 million – throughout the district over the past
decade “within the law and without issues.” The audit determined that
the district leadership and facilities-management team is “competent and
“The issue in this one specific project was its initial classification
as routine maintenance not subject to SED review as a capital project,
and a lack of effective communication and centralized decision and
control during the process to alert decision-makers at the senior
administrative and board levels that the project had grown beyond its
initial intent so that a reassessment could be made,” the board said.
The district closed the
space in June 2016 pending State Education Department review. State Ed
inspected the space in July 2016 and directed that the district correct
code violations before the space could be used.
The district completed
that work during the summer and the space reopened as a theater
classroom at the start of the current school year, with State Ed
The Board is working with the interim superintendent and assistant
superintendent for business affairs to implement the recommendations of
the audit, and to review and improve procedures to prevent any such
lapses from occurring again.
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and prepare all students for
college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our
diverse community. The district serves
more than 9,600
students in 17
elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood
schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as
well as other innovative academic opportunities for students,
including four themed academies at Albany High