Audit Finds Faulty Expenses at Two Schools

A $956 camera, a $1399 MacBook Pro and loans to teachers were among the allegedly improper expenses made by Herbert Lehman High School in the Bronx and James Madison High School in Brooklyn, according to an audit by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The audit claims both schools misused their general funds, an accounting category of money raised through fundraising efforts such as bake sales and yearbook fees. Schools are not allowed to use general funds for anything other than services that directly benefit students.

At Lehman, the auditors found 36 payments adding up to about $26,000 for things such as music equipment and printer toner. It alleged that Madison High School improperly used general funds for 19 payments totaling $6,856 between 2009 and 2010.

The Department of Education said it considered almost all of the expenses at Lehman as appropriate because they went to student services, notably an after-school drama club and the yearbook club. And, at Madison, the D.O.E. said some of the questionable expenses had been reimbursed while others were appropriate, going for books and supplies.

Still, the Department of Education said it had taken steps to improve accountability at both high schools.