New Galef-Backed Law Allows BOCES to Market Services Out-of-State
Accountability and Financial Oversight Questioned
September 25, 2012 — Assembly Candidate Kim Izzarelli says she was concerned earlier this year when she learned her opponent, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef co-sponsored a bill to allow BOCES to market its programs out of state.
Click HERE for Text of A10205, signed into law by Governor Cuomo on August 20th.
Izzarelli asserts BOCES (which collectively represents all 37 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services in New York State) is a great “co-operative” concept, but remains the least understood and poorly managed area of state education, with weak oversight, inadequate reporting and poor financial accountability. BOCES costs are passed through directly to its member school districts, which have little or no control over amounts charged back to them.
“There may be a few, well-managed BOCES throughout the state, but there are also some that are failing financially. It is a difficult universe to analyze. BOCES’ financial information is sketchy; assuming it is actually posted. One is relying strictly on the state comptroller's office,” says Izzarelli. “BOCES is the biggest ‘trust me’ in public education and as a taxpayer, I’m concerned about seeing its marketing reach extended without more accountability built into the system.”
Izzarelli questions the availability of financial reporting from her own local BOCES, Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, which has yet to post its audited financial statements from the 2009-2010 academic year and forward, on its website.
“If you had a publicly-traded company that couldn’t produce audited financial statements for three years, would you or any stakeholder then extend privilege to allow discretionary expansion into other markets, without proper reporting or accountability?” Izzarelli asks. “Without it, how do you know if New York taxpayers aren’t subsidizing programming costs for other states? The new law assumes this. If we want to be profitable, we have to assume the responsibilities of a real business.”
If elected, Izzarelli says she would bring legislation to require all BOCES providing services to school districts to submit to SSAE-16 Type II audits.
“I realize this type of audit does add cost, but currently a significant amount of public education dollars are used to purchase services without the scrutiny of external compliance testing,” says Izzarelli. “Taxpayers should know what they are paying for.”
Izzarelli, a single mother of two, spent fifteen years in the private financial sector, most recently as an internal auditor.