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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free School District – Financial Management (2012M-51)


Released: July 6, 2012 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the District's financial management practices for the period July 1, 2006, to March 13, 2012.

Background

The Cheektowaga-Sloan Union Free School District (District) is located in the Towns of Cheektowaga and West Seneca in Erie County. The District is governed by the Board of Education which comprises seven members. The District's 2010-11 general fund operating expenditures totaled $28.9 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board and District officials have not properly managed fund balance in accordance with statute and the District has accumulated more than $2.6 million that should be used to benefit taxpayers. District officials consistently overestimated appropriations for the past five years, by an average of $2.5 million annually.
  • The District had operating surpluses totaling $2.4 million in four of the last five fiscal years, and did not need to use the majority of the approximately $3 million of fund balance that the Board consistently appropriated as a funding source in the general fund budgets over the last five completed fiscal years. Despite its budgetary surpluses, the District increased its real property tax levy by approximately $2.3 million, 18 percent over the prior fiscal year's tax levy.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a plan to use the surplus fund balance in a manner that benefits District taxpayers. Adopt realistic budgets, using actual financial results from prior years to develop more reasonably projected expenditure levels.
  • Maintain unexpended surplus funds within the legal limits permitted in order to manage cash flow issues, unanticipated expenditures and/or revenue shortfalls in a more transparent manner.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236