BRISTOL - Mayor Ken Cockayne and Cheryl Thibeault, chairwoman of the Board of Finance, have asked the city’s purchasing agent to prepare a request to conduct a forensic audit of the Bristol Board of Education budget for fiscal years 2015-16 and 2016-17.
The decision to conduct an audit follows a roughly $2.38 million deficit in the education budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year that the Board of Education was unaware of and the city’s comptroller’s office identified.
“The deficit was discovered while closing the financial records for the June 30, 2017 fiscal year and preparing for the year-end audit,” Comptroller Diane Waldron said.
The Board of Education had a roughly $2 million deficit in the 2015-16 budget year, and at the time the finance board, mayor and comptroller recommended a special education fund so it could be better managed, which the Board of Education did not do.
“A forensic audit is an important tool so that the city can obtain a complete view of the Board of Education’s finances,” said Thibeault. “We can evaluate procedures in place and make recommendations and improvements to ensure compliance and accuracy. The audit subcommittee will evaluate proposals and present to the full Board of Finance for final approval.”
Cockayne noted, “It is frustrating from the city’s overall perspective to discover such a large deficit in the Board of Education budget and what is more troubling is that the Board of Education wasn’t aware of it.
“We have been diligently working on several options to manage the cuts that will most likely come from the state, while minimizing any impact to the taxpayers. Now we add an additional $2.38 million to whatever the impact is of the state budget to the City of Bristol.”
Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-973-5088.