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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Elba Central School District – Financial Condition (2013M-240)


Released: October 25, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s financial activities for the period July 1, 2011, to July 30, 2013.

Background

The Elba Central School District is located in the Towns of Batavia, Byron, Elba, Oakfield, and Stafford in Genesee County. The District is governed by a Board of Education, which comprises seven elected members. The District’s budgeted appropriations for the 2013-14 fiscal year totaled $9.7 million.

Key Findings

  • From the 2008-09 to 2012-13 fiscal years, District officials consistently over-estimated expenditures by a total of $5.5 million. These budgeting practices generated approximately $2.2 million in operating surpluses, which caused unexpended surplus funds to exceed statutory limits in each of the past five years. For example, as of June 30, 2013, unexpended surplus funds exceeded statutory limits by $949,184.
  • Although District officials appropriated on average $413,000 in each of the last five fiscal years to reduce the tax levy, the Board over-estimated expenditures by an average of $1.1 million annually, thus negating any benefit the appropriation of fund balance would have in reducing fund balance or the property tax levy.
  • District officials also used some of the annual operating surpluses to fund six reserves that, as of June 30, 2013, totaled $2.1 million. Four of the six reserves appear to be over-funded.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop realistic expenditure and fund balance estimates for the annual budget.
  • Develop a plan for the use of the general fund’s excess unexpended surplus fund balance and the excess amounts in reserve funds in a manner that benefits District taxpayers.
  • Review reserves and determine if the amounts reserved are necessary, reasonable, and in compliance with statutory requirements.

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