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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Rensselaer City School District – Financial Condition (2016M-286)

Released: October 28, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine if the Board properly managed the District’s financial operations for the period July 1, 2012 through May 31, 2016.


The Rensselaer City School District is located in the City of Rensselaer in Rensselaer County. The District, which operates one school with approximately 1,200 students, is governed by an elected five-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2016-17 fiscal year total approximately $23.9 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board did not adopt realistic, structurally balanced general fund budgets, resulting in operating deficits that were larger than planned and declining general fund and reserve fund balances.
  • District officials transferred $1.3 million from two reserve funds to the general fund without appropriate support.
  • The Board did not receive adequate or sufficient information to effectively perform its fiscal oversight responsibilities.
  • The Board has not developed comprehensive multiyear financial and capital plans to assist in addressing future needs.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt structurally balanced budgets for the general fund that include realistic estimates for revenues and expenditures.
  • Ensure reserves are used only for appropriate purposes.
  • Provide the Board with adequate and sufficient periodic information to allow the Board to perform its fiscal oversight responsibilities.
  • Develop and adopt comprehensive multiyear financial and capital plans for a three- to five-year period that address any economic or environmental factors which could affect the plans.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email:
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236