In 2017-18, the district’s transportation tab was $30.5 million and in 2018-19 $31.4 million, the audit notes.
“A state comptroller’s audit released Wednesday questions why the East Ramapo Central School District paid more than $800,000 to bus hundreds of private school students to yeshivas over the past two years even though they were not registered.
The audit by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said it discovered about $496,000 in payments for 717 students not registered with the district for the 2017-18 school year and another $337,085 in district payments for 455 students the following year.
Additionally, a sampling of 300 private school students raised questions about whether district money went to transport students who may not even live in the district, the audit noted.
Or even exist at all, it noted.
“When student records are not accurate and consistent from report to report, there is an increased risk that the District will pay for students who are not eligible or existent,” the report said.
And, after discovering discrepancies in the sample group, auditors asked to review records from earlier years and were told they had been destroyed.
“District officials did not explain why the documents were destroyed,” the report notes.
District officials say the payouts were legitimate expenses and say they’ve improved their system for tracking registered students during a period when enrollment has surged year to year.
Transportation has long been a hot button issue in a Rockland County school district that ranks second in the state behind New York City in the number of students it transports every day.
The district transports some 37,000 students every day, no matter how far away from the schools they live. Of those, some 27,000 are private school students, most of whom attend Yeshivas, while around 10,000 are enrolled in the public schools.”
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