SAVE LEGISLATION AUDIT REPORT RESPONSE
As you may have seen in the media, Commack was one of 19 school districts in New York that had their SAVE legislation documentation audited by the Comptroller’s office. It is worth noting that the Comptroller’s auditing team made up of accountants did not review our safety plans and protocols only the paperwork that must be submitted to the State education department. So to be clear, the accountants only reviewed paperwork; paperwork that:
- The District hired an independent third party company; a company that indicated they were experts in SAVE Legislation to review the written document each year. However, said company failed to note any deficiencies in the written document.
- Furthermore, the written document audited by the Comptroller’s accountants was submitted and accepted by the State Education Department every year. The State Education Department never requested revisions or edits to the written document nor provided feedback of any kind.
NOTE: For 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, the District’s written documentation as audited by the Comptroller’s accountants, was amended and revised to satisfy the language requirements in SAVE.
It should also be noted that the scope of the Comptroller’s audit did not review, by design, any evidence or documentation supporting the practices, procedures or protocols utilized by the District regarding the safety and security of its students, staff or facilities. That this was due to the fact that, according to the Comptroller’s audit team, the Comptroller’s accountants performing the audit were not trained in school safety and security.
while the District level written document may be lacking in language,
the practices, protocols and procedures utilized by the District designed to insure the safety of students, staff and facilities have been identified as fully compliant. This was verified by an outside, accredited organization certified in enhanced Homeland security instruction; an organization that utilizes an “All Hazards Approach to Emergency Preparedness,” who conducted a separate audit designed to insure safety practices are compliant with all standards. This agency which employs current and retired law enforcement officials, indicated our practices go well beyond the minimum requirements. In fact, while reporting to the Board of Education and the community, said organization indicated,
“The Commack School District has been on the proactive side of school security for many years;”
- “You’re staffed more than several police departments on Long Island;”
- "When we look at highly trained personnel we look at everybody in the District from the upper echelon here in the administration building to security personnel to teachers, and custodial staff, everybody plays a part and, again, accolades because throughout the assessment process here I can’t say enough about the Commack staff.”
In closing, we would like reiterate that we are beyond confident that our safety and security plans, procedures and protocols are extremely robust and meet all local, state and federal standards. This ascertain is supported by another outside organization that audited our technology systems, which are critical for the physical security of our students, who subsequently stated, “Commack has better cyber security systems than some federal and state agencies that we work for.”
Please click here to read about the Commack School's commitment to safety and security