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East Ramapo Central School District: Intensive Review of Transportation

East Ramapo Central School District: Intensive Review of Transportation

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Published by Ryan Chatelain
Covering the State mandate for the year ended June 30, 2012
Covering the State mandate for the year ended June 30, 2012

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Published by: Ryan Chatelain on Feb 05, 2013
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05/20/2015

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East Ramapo Central School District

Intensive Review of Transportation
Covering the State mandate for the year ended June 30, 2012

East Ramapo Central School District
Table of Contents

Cover Letter ................................................................................................................... 1

Overview ...................................................................................................................... 2-3

Summary of Observations and Test Results ............................................................... 4-6

To the Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District East Ramapo, New York

We have performed a review in the area of transportation, as agreed to by the East Ramapo Central School District (the District). The purpose of this engagement is to ensure compliance with applicable New York State laws and regulations under the Fiscal Accountability Initiative for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012. Our report provides results of attribute testing performed on the selected area. In addition, our report indicates any areas for which we believe improvements can be made to existing processes and internal controls. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to serve you and look forward to reviewing this report in detail with you. We would also like to thank the Board of Education and the employees of the East Ramapo Central School District for their time and assistance during our engagement.

Sincerely,

Larchmont, New York June 15, 2012

1

East Ramapo Central School District
Overview
At the request of the Board of Education of the East Ramapo Central School District "the District" we performed a Risk Assessment. The assessment included an analysis of business procedures and activities. Subsequent to performing our Risk Assessment report (dated December 6, 2011); the Board of Education engaged our firm to perform an intensive review of Transportation. The District has a transportation budget of approximately $26.5 million dollars and transports approximately 9,000 public students and 19,450 private students per day. The District provides universal busing to all District students and transports to approximately 157 public and private schools. The District has a Transportation Director who coordinates 89 buses which handle approximately 29% of the transportation of the District. Only District owned buses use the onsite computerized fueling station on District premises. Hired third party contractors provide their own fuel. The Fuel Master system monitors the amount of fuel pumped and limits gas. The New York State Department of Transportation performs safety inspections of the buses every 6 months. The Director and the Safety Coordinator hire bus drivers, and also approve drivers hired by the contracted bus companies. The District uses software, “Versatrans”, to schedule bus drivers. There is a Maintenance Supervisor and a repair shop for the bus fleet. There are also five full time mechanics and two employees who wash and refuel the buses. The Accounting Department reviews monthly reports from Fuel Master by vehicle and by driver to determine if the fuel usage appears consistent and reasonable. We found that the District has cooperative agreements with BOCES. Below is a summary of the percentage of total payments made to the third party contracted bus companies over the last year:

Chestnut Ridge Transportation Student Bus Company  Congregation Yeshiva Avir Yakov United Talmudiical Academy Yeshivath Viznitz D'Khal Torath Chaim IN  Tzoin Yosef Transportation Corp of Westchester  Congregation Bais Malka  Yeshiva Bais Dovid All others under 1% of total Total

40.09% 38.79% 4.28% 3.91% 2.65% 2.19% 1.71% 1.37% 1.30% 3.71% 100.00%

2

Our intensive review of transportation consisted of the following: 1) Detailed interviews of district personnel and documentation of these interviews through internal audit industry acceptable checklists. 2) Testing and documentation of procedures for transportation. 3) Review of NYS Regulations as they pertain to district transportation. 4) Physical observation of student pick up, and drop off. Key personnel interviewed during our process were as follows: Assistant Superintendent for Finance- Michael Ivanoff Director of Transportation - Brian Molloy Purchasing Agent - Louise Marin Accountant II - Pat Beltramo Bus Driver – Kathy Riccardi

3

East Ramapo Central School District
Summary of Observations
Our observations and recommendations are separated into three categories:    Procedure - Procedure observation and recommendation show where there is a lack of, or insufficient internal control. Documentation - Documentation observation and recommendation are findings where the auditors believe controls exist, but are either not being documented at all, or are not being sufficiently documented. Security - Security observation and recommendation refer to the physical security of documents, software, and other district assets.

Procedure Observation and Recommendation 1) Observation: Transportation is a significant part of the District budget (in excess of 26 million dollars). The District owns 89 buses which require constant investment and upgrade of equipment. The District must continually purchase new buses to replenish the fleet. Recommendation: The District should evaluate student transportation costs by preparing an analysis of all possible alternatives, including the cost of outsourcing the entire fleet. However, any move to use all contracted bus companies may be a violation of Taylor Law as in the matter of Manhasset UFSD v. PERB. Where applicable The District should also consider the option of cooperatively bidding future transportation contracts with neighboring districts. Observation: The District assigns students to each bus in the most efficient manner based upon location. The current New York bus law now does not require a seat for each child. The District has not performed a physical count of students for each bus route. Therefore, the District cannot confirm actual bus ridership. Recommendation: The District should annually re-evaluate the design of bus routes and assign buses in the most effective way. The Department should count the actual number of students on each bus, in order to determine the optimum number of students per bus. This may help reduce the number of routes needed. Observation: The District currently uses transportation software, Versatrans 8.2. This computer system allows them to record daily activity on bus routes, allowable number of students, and additional planning. The software is outdated and new versions are now available. Recommendation: The District should update its transportation software to the newest version of Versatrans. In order to consider this, the District would first inquire about the cost of upgrading computer equipment and wiring which would support the newer software. The main enhancement would be the ability of the District Student Information Software to interact with Versatrans. This cannot be done now because of Versatrans proprietary platform. There would also be enhancements to mapping capabilities.

2)

3)

4

4)

Observation: The District owned bus fleet is ageing and new buses have not been purchased in over four years. The budget no longer provides for new bus purchases. Two years ago a referendum to purchase 20 buses failed. Recommendation: If the District determines that it is in its best interest to continue to operate an in house fleet, new buses should be budgeted for on a consistent and annual basis, old buses may be recycled to create valuable parts for the District owned fleet. Observation: The District transports many non-public school students to various private schools. The non-public schools often have sessions when the public schools are closed. In the past, the District’s annual budget has included non mandated transportation. Recommendation: The District should publish in advance of the school year as to which days the non public school children will be transported on days when the public schools are closed. This would help the transportation department, the third party bus vendor, and the District administrative office better plan and budget for costs. Observation: During our review, we spot checked two bus routes (see page 6). We did not notice any major differences between the District roster and students actually riding the bus, however, it was only a small sample. Recommendation: It may be beneficial to the District to employ some part time help whose main task would be to ride the bus routes and verify bus ridership.

5)

6)

Documentation Observation & Recommendation None noted Security Observation & Recommendation None noted

5

Results of Attribute Testing Review of vendor invoices to bus contract and test for mathematically accuracy. For both selected bus companies, we verified approximately 35 invoices to ensure that the prices charged to the District agreed to the original contracts plus annual CPI increases. We did not note any exceptions. Review of number of vehicles utilized and consistency from month to month. To ensure that the District has no major fluctuations in the usage of buses, we compared the number of buses invoiced for four months (September 2011, November 2011, January 2012, and March 2012.) No exceptions noted. Review for proper invoice description and timeliness of payment. We checked 10 purchase orders to invoices, and then traced the amount on the invoice to the invoice summary sheet. We verified that the number of buses billed were the actual buses provided. We took a random sample of four invoices for each company and traced the amount and the date paid. We confirmed that the payments are made within one month of the order. Review of vendor invoice to ensure the number of gallons of fuel ordered and price per gallon agree to the shipping slip and state contract price. We matched 17 invoices to the delivery slips to verify that the correct amount of fuel was delivered. We compared the price the District was invoiced to the price on the State contract. No exceptions were noted. Observation of student pick up, drop off. We observed two routes, a drop off route and a pick up route, we were able to compare the number of students on the District roster to the actual number of students riding the bus. On the drop off route, we only counted 23 out of 26 children on the Districts roster. Of the three students that were not riding the bus, two had moved, and another was absent. From our pick up route, there were 38 children on the Districts roster. Of these 38 children, we only counted 32, it was noted that two of these students moved, however, we were unable to obtain any information on the remaining four. Review of transportation costs of other Districts. We compared the percentage of transportation costs to total budget and compared this to other districts for the 2011/2012 school year. The table below summaries the results:
East Ramapo $    26,515,327                 28,450 $                  932 $   198,883,000 13% Wappingers $    12,414,576                 13,174 $                  942 $   196,982,040 6% Ramapo $    10,154,250                  5,400 $                1,880 $   127,067,927 8% Clarkstown $      8,116,411                  9,347 $                  868 $   197,535,000 4%

Total transportation  budget # of students Cost per student Total budget % of total budget

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