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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Pine Bush Central School District – Budgeting Practices and Transportation Cost Savings (2012M-238)


Released: March 8, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s fund balance and identify opportunities for cost savings in transportation for the period July 1, 2011, through July 23, 2012.

Background

The Pine Bush Central School District is located in Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Counties. The District is governed by the Board of Education, which comprises seven elected members. The District’s expenditures for the 2011-12 fiscal year were $94.6 million, which were funded primarily with State aid and real property taxes.

Key Findings

  • The Board and District officials routinely overestimated expenditures in the District’s annual budget. Total expenditures were overestimated by approximately $4.8 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year and $3.6 million in both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years. As a result, the District’s unexpended surplus funds increased from approximately $4 million at June 30, 2010 to $6.8 million at June 30, 2011, and to $8.9 million at June 30, 2012. The District’s unexpended surplus fund balance at June 30, 2012 exceeded the limit set by RPTL by over $4.8 million.
  • The District had excess capacity on 124 of the 210 routes reviewed. We identified six routes which potentially could be reduced to three routes and could potentially save the District over $130,000 per year.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt realistic budgets by considering actual financial results from prior years to project expenditures. Maintain unexpended surplus funds within the legal limits. Develop a plan to use the surplus fund balance in a manner that benefits District taxpayers.
  • Implement performance measures to evaluate the efficiency of bus routes. Reduce the number of bus routes to better utilize school bus capacity.

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