Niskayuna school board says audit found them in line with district policy



Niskayuna School Board received a report of a special audit conducted to determine if the board followed the proper procedures when it hired King & King, a Syracuse-based architectural firm, to work on the improvement project of the district’s capital assets of $ 80 million.

However, the report has not been released.

Marvin & Co., a licensed accounting and consulting firm, was hired by the board at its special meeting on September 29 to complete the audit. However, the district did not immediately provide details on the audit or the cost of hiring the company.

At a board meeting on Tuesday, President Kim Tully informed the public that the audit was complete.

“As a council, we strive to ensure that the district is as transparent as possible, while recognizing that there is sometimes information that we cannot share to protect the integrity of various processes,” a- she said at the meeting. “We respect the balance that this requires.

“Tonight I am happy to say that we have received the results of the audit and are sharing this information publicly.”

She said the audit found that the board was in compliance with district policy.

Tully said the audit took place after an internal question arose as to whether the board followed the proper procedures when it hired King & King. After the procedural question arose, the board removed an agenda item to pay the architectural firm until the matter was resolved, Tully said.

The first question the audit looked at was whether the board should go out to tender before hiring King & King. Tully said district policy states that the board does not need to issue a tender because the contract is for a professional service provided by the architectural firm for which they have certifications and a specialized training.

The audit also examined King & King payment documents dated July 1, 2020.

“The audit found that on several occasions a purchase order was in place before payment was received,” Tully said.

She said the most recent payment request did not include a purchase order, which is why the board removed it from the agenda.

The third question the prosecution considered was whether there were any conflicts of interest. There weren’t any, Tully said.

Finally, the audit examined whether the selection of the architectural firm was in accordance with neighborhood policy. This was in line with policy when the company was chosen in December 2018, Tully said.

“I assure the community that we take our responsible financial policies and practices very seriously, as evidenced by the attention we have paid to this issue,” said Tully.

However, while Tully spoke at the meeting about the audit findings, the district did not release the audit.

The Gazette on Thursday requested a copy of the audit from district spokesman Matt Leon, who said he did not have it.

“The report from Marvin & Co. went straight to the board,” he said. “I don’t have a copy. If you would like to receive it, please submit a FOIL [Freedom of Information Law] ask the school district.

Leon also said the district did not receive an invoice from Marvin & Co. for its work. However, The Gazette obtained the letter of engagement that the district signed with the company, which shows the hourly rate based on the employee involved.

The breakdown of hourly rates is as follows:

  • Director – $ 255 – $ 280
  • Manager / Principal – $ 115 – $ 255
  • Senior Insurance Associate – $ 80 to $ 100
  • Insurance Associate – $ 60 – $ 80

The capital project, which voters approved in February, will be completed in phases over the next several years, Leon said.

Roofing work at Niskayuna Secondary School is expected to start in the spring or summer of 2022. At that time, work on the site of the secondary school will take place, as will infrastructure work in elementary schools.

“We have worked with teachers and administrators on the renovation and expansion as part of the reconfiguration and improvements of the academic space at Iroquois Middle School and we plan to submit plans to the Department of Education. State for the Iroquois renovations / expansion and work at the Iroquois and Rosendale sites. this winter, ”Leon said. “After that, we will begin an equally robust and inclusive process for the design of the renovation, expansion and works of the Van Antwerp site. “

During Tuesday’s meeting, the board also hired Turner Construction as the project’s construction manager. The resolution to hire the construction company does not specify the value of this contract, but notes that the company did not submit the lowest bid.

“Although Turner was not the lowest bidder, the committee felt that the team that will be assigned to Niskayuna has best demonstrated its ability to work collaboratively with entrepreneurs and district leaders, including a plan clear communication that encompassed all stakeholders, the ability to meet project schedules and work to resolve any potential issues that may arise, ”the resolution states. “The committee also felt that their national presence would be beneficial at a time of supply chain disruption and labor shortages. Turner also put in place educational programs that our students could benefit from.

A committee to oversee the project has also been formed and consists of the superintendent, three members of the education board, the facility manager, the business and finance director, a member of the administrative unit, a representative of King & King, and a representative of Turner Construction.

Leon said the committee will meet at least once a month to hear how the project is going and review the documents that will be submitted to the board for approval, Leon said.

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