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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Waverly Central School District – Financial Condition (2013M-148)


Released: September 6, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the District’s financial condition for the period of July 1, 2011, to March 26, 2013.

Background

The Waverly Central School District is located in Tioga and Chemung Counties. The District is governed by the Board of Education which comprises nine elected members. The District’s budgeted expenditures for the 2012-13 fiscal year were $28 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board and District management are not developing realistic expenditure budget estimates. For the fiscal years ended 2008 to 2011, the District spent an average of $1.8 million less than budgeted appropriations each year. For the fiscal year ended 2012, the District’s actual revenues and expenditures were far closer to budget estimates, receiving $60,000 less than budgeted revenues and spending only $702,000 less than budgeted appropriations.
  • The District’s annual budgets included the use of fund balance to finance operations in order to keep the real property tax levies at amounts the Board considered to be reasonable. For a five-year period, the Board adopted budgets that included aggregate appropriated unexpended surplus of more than $4.7 million, an average of more than $940,000 annually, which should have decreased the amount available to appropriate. However, very little of the planned amount was used because, for the same period, actual operations generated surpluses totaling more than $5.3 million.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop expenditure estimates that are realistic and based upon all information available at the time the budget is developed.
  • Provide appropriate transparency through the budget process with public disclosure. If District officials intentionally continue to collect taxes in excess of what is necessary for financing current operations in an effort to accumulate funds for future use, set aside those funds in appropriate reserves.

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