State audit cites Shenendehowa, Green Tech for inaccurate salary payments

A Saratoga County school district and an Albany charter school were each cited by the state for inaccurate payments to staff in audits released Friday.

The Shenendehowa Central School District did not accurately calculate longevity payments for 26 of the 32 employees that the New York State Comptroller’s Office reviewed during an audit for the period of July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.

These are payments given to staff members based upon their length of service, according to the union contract. The error resulted in 26 employees being underpaid by a total of about $9,200.

Officials at the Saratoga County school district blamed the error on turnover in staff at the payroll office. Also, they noted in their response letter to the state that there isn’t a single formula to determine the longevity payment that someone gets. It varies based upon how many hours people work per day and how long they work for the district. Records were kept on paper and it is complicated to review. The district is working on a standard electronic template to make the calculation more automated and consistent.

The state found that Green Tech Charter School miscalculated salaries for 10 of 67 employees reviewed, which resulted in an error of about $1,200.

Auditors also could not find supporting documentation for payments made to 54 employees that totaled nearly $42,000. This included a lack of timesheets for three hourly employees paid $7,200, nearly $17,000 for miscellaneous payments to seven employees and class coverage payments made to 44 employees totaling about $18,000.

District officials also blamed turnover in the office and a lack of training.

The school said in its response letter that it accepted the findings and will implement recommendations.