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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Ramapo Central School District – Fund Balance and Employee Compensation (2013M-189)


Released: September 27, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s fund balance and payroll for the period July 1, 2011, to January 14, 2013.

Background

The Ramapo Central School District is located in the Town of Ramapo, in Rockland County. The District is governed by the Board of Education which is composed of seven elected members. During the 2011-12 fiscal year, the District had operating expenditures of approximately $118 million.

Key Findings

  • The District has accumulated more than $16.3 million in excess funds that could be used to benefit taxpayers. The excess balance is about 13 percent of the subsequent year’s budget, which is much higher than the statutory 4 percent limit allowed for school districts. The District circumvented the 4 percent limit by inappropriately encumbering approximately $8.7 million in purchase orders and tax certioraris for 2012 fiscal year.
  • The District had $2.3 million in excess funds in the unemployment and insurance reserves.
  • Nine of 40 employees started their employment at steps higher than the entry level and cost about $95,000 more a year than if they started at the entry level. According to District officials, individuals were given higher levels because of degree completion, work experience, difficulty of academic curriculum, and scarcity of a particular skill set needed by the District. However, District officials were unable to provide any documentation supporting why those nine employees received an initial salary at those particular levels.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a plan to use surplus fund balance and unnecessary reserves in a manner that benefits District taxpayers. Ensure that year-end encumbrances are valid and supported.
  • Review all reserves and determine if the amounts reserved are necessary, reasonable, and in compliance with statutory requirements.
  • Properly document the reasons for any starting salary that exceeds the established entry level rate.

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