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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Westmoreland Central School District – Financial Condition (2014M-283)


Released: December 5, 2014 -- [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, 2013 through June 30, 2014.

Background

The Westmoreland Central School District is located in the Towns of Vernon, Westmoreland and Whitestown and the City of Rome in Oneida County and has approximately 950 students and 145 employees. The District is governed by the Board of Education, which comprises seven elected members. The Board President is the chief financial officer. For the 2014-15 fiscal year, the District’s operating budget is approximately $20 million.

Key Findings

  • By consistently overestimating expenditures and appropriating fund balance that was not used to fund operations, the District’s actual unrestricted fund balance totaled almost three times the amount allowed by law.
  • Each year, the annual budget included using fund balance to finance operations to keep the real property tax levies at amounts the Board considered reasonable, making it appear that the District needed to raise real property taxes and use unrestricted fund balance to close projected budget gaps.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a plan to reduce the amount of unrestricted fund balance in a manner that benefits District taxpayers.
  • Develop and adopt budgets that include reasonable estimates for expenditures and discontinue the practice of adopting budgets that result in appropriating fund balance that will not be used to fund operations.

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