Auditors lay out plan for Darien dissection

Auditors CohnReznick will begin its audit into Darien’s special education excess cost grants sometime in the coming days. Performing the audit will be CohnReznick partner Joseph Centofanti and manager Melissa Ferrucci.

“Our testing procedures and approach will be designed to determine the types of services delivered, who provided the services and the cost of the services,” Centofanti wrote in Cohn’s proposal to the town. [The proposal can be viewed at the bottom of this page]

According to this proposal, Centofanti has worked on 35 end-of-year school reports over the last three years, and more than 100 in his 25-year career. He also has experience with the excess cost process.

Ferrucci has worked on 15 end-of-year school reports over the last three years, and more than 40 during her 10-year career. She also has “significant experience” in reviewing excess cost grants for in-district students, the company said, adding that she worked for the Town of Fairfield’s school board to improve its procedures over the last few years.

The cost would cover approximately 60 to 75 hours of work spanning five to six business days. However, this estimate is predicated upon the district keeping accurate records.

“The number of hours required to complete the project will be dependent on the condition of the district’s records and the nature, type and accuracy of the supporting documentation,” Centofanti wrote. The district came under fire over the summer for its record-keeping procedures after The Darien Times found evidence that the district’s special education director could have prematurely destroyed education documents.

The auditors expect to deliver two reports to the town — one covering any errors in the grant applications and showing what the correct numbers should be, and another showing “weaknesses identified” based upon the audit and recommendations to develop better accounting and reporting procedures.

Originally published in The Darien Times.

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