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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Newfield Central School District – Financial Condition (2013M-238)


Released: December 20, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the District’s financial activities for the period July 1, 2011 to May 22, 2013.

Background

The Newfield Central School District is located in Tompkins County. The District is governed by the Board of Education which comprises seven elected members. The District’s budgeted expenditures for the 2013-14 fiscal year are $17.6 million.

Key Findings

  • District officials did not ensure reasonable levels of fund balance were maintained. While their budgets included the use of surplus and reserved fund balances to finance operations, the positive variances between their budgets and actual results never necessitated the full use of the surplus funds. Instead, the amount of surplus increased the District’s total fund balance by $521,000 over a five-year period.
  • Some of the surplus funds were transferred to various reserves resulting in three reserves having more money than is likely necessary.
  • The District reported liabilities that were more than $1.3 million over the actual obligations for the same period. The adjustment of the overfunded reserves and correction of the understated liabilities would increase the available fund balance by more than $1.8 million. This would cause the fund balance to be well over the amount allowed by law.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt realistic budgets that are consistent with the District’s actual revenues and expenditures. Develop a plan to reduce the amount of unexpended surplus funds in a manner that benefits District taxpayers.
  • Consult with the District’s attorney as to appropriate methods for removing excess amounts out of the reserve accounts.
  • Properly adjust the liability amounts reported to include only the amount that is realistically due within the next year.

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