White Plains City School District – Financial Management (2020M-71)

Issued Date
October 30, 2020

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Audit Objective

Determine whether the Board and District officials adopted realistic budgets and maintained reasonable levels of fund balance and reserve funds.

Key Findings

The Board and District officials did not adopt realistic budgets or maintain reasonable levels of fund balance. However, reserves were generally funded at reasonable levels and within legal limits.

  • The District’s fund balance over the past five years grew to $97.9 million, the equivalent of 43 percent of the District’s annual budget.
  • Certain appropriations were overestimated in previous budgets and continued to be overestimated.
  • District officials made year-end transfers totaling about $29 million to reserves. The transfers were made to stay within the statutory surplus fund balance limit and resulted in a lack of transparency because the taxpayers were not informed of the amounts that would be added to the reserves during the fiscal year.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt annual budgets that contain reasonable estimates for expenditures, revenues and the amounts to be transferred to reserves based on historical and/or other known factors.
  • Reduce the amount of surplus fund balance in a manner that benefits taxpayers.

District officials disagreed with certain aspects of our findings and recommendations, but indicated they have initiated corrective action. Appendix B includes our comments on issues raised in the District’s response letter.