The LaSalle School in Albany overcharged state taxpayers by more than $430,000 over a period of three years, according to an audit by the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
The not-for-profit special education provider claimed $433,968 in unnecessary costs and for compensation of 10 uncertified teachers, according to the report.
“Special education programs fulfill a great need across New York, but taxpayers are paying for more than they should,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Providers like LaSalle, as well as the state Education Department, have a responsibility to make sure costs for these programs adhere to state guidelines to protect taxpayer dollars.”
The Albany-based school used $375,240 in compensation for teachers who did not have the required certifications and $38,745 in other compensation that did not comply with state Education Department regulations, such as bonuses.
According to DiNapoli’s office, from 2008 through 2011 the school also claimed $11,450 in unsupported vehicle costs, $3,135 in inadequately documented staff travel, $3,005 in ineligible credit card purchases, $1,750 in inappropriate administrative costs and $643 for ineligible staff conferences.
DiNapoli recommended that the state Education Department review the audit’s findings and make appropriate adjustments to the costs submitted by LaSalle and provide training on reimbursement with the school’s administrators and staff.
State Education Department officials and LaSalle officials said they will address DiNapoli’s recommendations and work to take action on them, according to the news release issued by the state comptroller’s office.