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September 27, 2010



DiNapoli: Real-Time Fiscal Monitoring of Roosevelt School Helps District Achieve $27 Million in Fund Balance and Reserves



State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today that the Roosevelt Union Free School District (District) achieved an operating surplus of approximately $7 million for the 2009-2010 fiscal year due to real-time financial monitoring, tighter spending constraints and increased state aid.  As a result, the District’s projected fund balance and reserves as of June 30, 2010, was approximately $27 million.

“The Roosevelt School District struggled with fiscal issues for years and its deficit had grown so large that it threatened ongoing operations,” said DiNapoli.  “In response to that fiscal crisis, I sent my auditors to Roosevelt to provide intensive monitoring of Roosevelt’s daily financial transactions on a real-time basis.  It was an unprecedented response to an untenable situation.

“But now, after three years of day-by-day review of Roosevelt’s books, working with the current superintendent and school board, we’ve established fiscal discipline and good financial management practices at Roosevelt. We’re confident enough in Roosevelt’s fiscal stability to end our real-time audit, but we will continue to monitor Roosevelt’s financial operations and provide assistance as necessary.”

The District has struggled with fiscal issues for many years. In March 2002, the State Legislature authorized additional oversight by the commissioner of education, including the appointment of a new board. The Legislature also provided deficit financing of about $5.8 million to liquidate an accumulated deficit, and provided an additional $6 million in state aid annually. It also granted an apportionment on future state aid of $4 million.

DiNapoli’s report follows his March 2007 audit that found the District spent about $12 million more than it budgeted over the previous two years.  As a result of those findings the Comptroller announced that his office would audit the District on a real-time basis for the fiscal year to determine whether the school District monitored spending and stayed within its 2007-08 budget. DiNapoli acted in conjunction with increased oversight of the District by the State Education Department (SED).

"The Roosevelt Board of Education, Superintendent, and Central Office Administration have worked diligently, along with the Office of the State Comptroller to improve the financial stability of the school district,” said Robert-Wayne Harris, Superintendent of Schools. “We took every finding and recommendation seriously and implemented the changes necessary to ensure the responsible management of our District finances. We have come a long way in a short period of time and will continue to monitor effectively our District budget and spending to ensure that we do not find ourselves in an unstable financial situation again. We would like to thank State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his staff for their ongoing and unwavering assistance and support of the Roosevelt Union Free School District and we welcome any future assistance that they may be willing to provide. We know that our students will benefit the most from our District's financial stability.”

DiNapoli’s report highlights the District’s results of operations for the 2009-10 fiscal year ending in June 30, 2010.

The report recommends that District officials:

  • Continue monitoring the unreserved, un-appropriated general fund balance and develop a plan to reduce the balance in accordance with Education law;
  • Make necessary budget transfers of appropriations to accounts that are over-expended;
  • Continue to take measures that ensure academic improvement grant (AIG) funds are used appropriately; and
  • Amend the 2010-11 budget by reducing estimated AIG revenues by $6 million.

The results of DiNapoli's report and recommendations have been discussed with District officials and their comments are included in the audit.

If you have any questions, or would like a comment from the Comptroller’s press office regarding this audit, please call the press office at 518-474-4015, or send an email to press@osc.state.ny.us.

For a copy of the report visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/schools/2010/roosevelt4qtr.pdf

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