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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

North Greenbush Common School District – Budgeting (2016M-112)


Released: June 24, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s budgeting practices for the period July 1, 2012 through December 31, 2015.

Background

The North Greenbush Common School District is located in the Town of North Greenbush, Rensselaer County. The District, which operates one school with approximately 20 students from kindergarten through first grade and then pays tuition for its students to attend one of four other school districts, is governed by an elected three-member Board of Education. The District’s operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled approximately $2.1 million.

Key Findings

  • From fiscal years 2012-13 through 2014-15, the District overestimated expenditures by a total of more than $1.4 million (or 19.6 percent).
  • Due to the overestimated expenditures, the District incurred operating surpluses totaling more than $900,000 in these three years and did not use any of the $500,000 appropriated fund balance to fund operations.
  • The District has accumulated unrestricted fund balance that exceeds the statutory limit by approximately $1.6 million, or 75 percentage points, as of June 30, 2015.
  • The District does not have a multiyear financial plan.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets that include realistic expenditure estimates.
  • Discontinue the practice of adopting budgets that result in the appropriation of fund balance that is not used to finance District operations.
  • Reduce the amount of the District’s unrestricted fund balance so that it is in compliance with Real Property Tax Law statutory limits and the Board’s fund balance policy. Unrestricted fund balance reductions should be made in a manner that benefits District residents. Such uses could include, but are not limited to, reducing District property taxes, paying off debt or financing one-time expenditures.
  • Develop a multiyear financial plan and monitor and update the plan on an ongoing basis.

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