Liverpool schools blasted in comptroller's audit

The state comptroller's audit of the Liverpool Central School District, released earlier this week, reprimands the district for what it calls "a questionable pattern of behavior on the part of district officials and lax controls over the use of taxpayer monies."

The report, obtained by Eagle Newspapers, states that the district has misused funds since about 2000. While most of its criticisms are directed at former Superintendent John Cataldo's administration, the report also faults the administration of current super Jan Matousek for several issues, including missing laptops, improper use of extra-classroom activity funds and weak management controls.

The report does commend the district for undertaking certain measures to address the problems. For example, the district has established an ethics committee, removed non-student clubs from the extra-classroom activities fund and phased out the student laptop program.

District officials held a press conference Wednesday July 30 to respond to the report. Matousek and School Board President Mark Lawson both said that they were relieved the report had been made public.

"We've been living under this for a long time," Lawson said.

Though they placed most of the blame on Cataldo's administration, both officials acknowledged some responsibility for the situation.

"I would say that it's possible that we weren't doing some things that we should have been doing. That we could have exercised better internal control. And this report helps us to do that," said Lawson.

To view the full report, visit http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/schools/2008/liverpool.pdf.

A full story will appear in the Aug. 6 edition of The Liverpool Review.

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