Buffalo City School District – Special Education and Grant Administration (2017M-73)

Issued Date
June 30, 2017

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the District’s process for claiming Excess Cost Aid and billing nonresident tuition for special education services and to review the grant administration procedures for the period July 1, 2014 through December 20, 2016.


The Buffalo City School District is located in the City of Buffalo in Erie County. The District is governed by an elected nine-member Board of Education and operates 56 schools with approximately 32,000 students. The modified budgeted appropriations for the 2016-17 fiscal year were $893.4 million.

Key Findings

  • The District bills based on nonresident tuition (NRT) rates calculated by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED), but the District’s actual costs are generally greater than NYSED rates.
  • The District was not rebilling school districts of residence when NYSED released updated NRT rates.
  • The District does not include assistive technology purchases or rentals in the calculation of costs to claim Excess Cost Aid.

Key Recommendations

  • Bill school districts of residence for nonresident students attending District schools and nonpublic schools based on actual costs and enter into written agreements specifying that actual costs will be used as the billing method.
  • Rebill school districts of residence using reconciled NRT rates when they become available and consider rebilling school districts for 2014-15 and 2015-16 based on the difference between the estimated and reconciled NRT rates.
  • Ensure all eligible costs are included when submitting claims for Excess Cost Aid, including assistive technology.