Reports on Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings and Merrick Academy are the first of several
New York City’s comptroller on Wednesday released audits citing poor fiscal practices at two local charter schools, among the first such reports since he said he would scrutinize the finances of a sampling of charters.
The schools, Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School and Merrick Academy Queens Public Charter School, both said in written responses that they had taken steps to address some of the concerns and disputed other findings.
Supporters and critics of charters—which are taxpayer-funded and privately operated—are awaiting the release of Comptroller Scott Stringer’s audit of the city’s largest charter network, Success Academy Charter Schools. It is scheduled to be completed this year.
Auditors said New Beginnings didn’t have written contracts or project plans for $1.5 million spent on construction during the audit period, and it lacked controls over parents’ cash payments for lunches and other programs. The report said most board members also failed to file financial-disclosure forms on time.
Further, the schools wrote nearly $60,000 in checks for amounts roughly $1 less than the $5,000 threshold that requires signatures by two school officials, possibly to avoid oversight.
New Beginnings officials, in their response, disputed that the forms weren’t filed on time and said their new administration is complying with the rules. The audits covered 2013 and 2014.
Merrick Academy was accused of altering the terms of a $1.3 million contract with Victory Schools Inc., a for-profit management company, without putting those changes in writing. The auditors found no documentation to show that the school’s board of trustees approved a move to a new location or considered its costs, which totaled $4.5 million. The report said the school lacked proof City Criticizes Management at Charters - WSJ: