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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Red Hook Central School District – Financial Management (2016M-105)


Released: June 3, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s financial management for the period July 1, 2014 through December 17, 2015.

Background

The Red Hook Central School District is located in the Towns of Red Hook, Rhinebeck and Milan in Dutchess County, as well as Clermont and Livingston in Columbia County. The District, which operates four schools with approximately 1,900 students, is governed by an elected five-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year were $50.8 million.

Key Findings

  • District officials did not consider how the overall actual results or trends compare to the current budget for departmental budgets. As a result, the Board adopted inflated budgets each year, excess fund balance levels increased and more property taxes were levied than necessary.
  • The District has four reserve funds which have not been used to fund any payments over the five-year period from 2010-11 to 2014-15; these unused reserves increased $1.5 million or 106 percent, totaling approximately $3 million at the end of 2014-15.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a plan to use the surplus fund balance identified in this report in a manner that benefits District residents such as using surplus funds as a financing source, funding one-time expenditures, funding needed reserves and reducing District property taxes.
  • Review reserves to determine if the amounts reserved are justified, necessary and reasonable. To the extent that they are not, reserves should be properly reduced.

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