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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District - Financial Condition Management (2018M-258)

Released: March 8, 2019 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Board and District officials effectively managed the District’s financial condition.

Key Findings

  • District officials reduced excessive unrestricted fund balance by $14 million from 2015-16 through 2017-18 by funding reserves and one-time expenditures and reducing property taxes. At the end of 2017-18, the District exceeded the 4 percent statutory limit on unrestricted fund balance by about 2 percentage points, or $609,000.
  • Adopted budgets in 2015-16 and 2016-17 overestimated appropriations by more than 6 percent due to conservative budget practices. Also, the District experienced unplanned operating surpluses totaling $3 million in two of the last three fiscal years.
  • The debt service fund and most reserve funds are not being used, and the repair, retirement, insurance and tax certiorari reserves are overfunded. The debt service fund and overfunded reserves had balances totaling more than $15.5 million as of June 30, 2018.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a plan to reduce the amount of unrestricted fund balance to comply with the statutory limit.
  • Adopt annual budgets that contain realistic estimates for appropriations.
  • Analyze reserve fund balances and ensure they are maintained at reasonable levels.
  • Use the funds in the debt service fund to pay the related debt service expenditures.

District officials agreed with our findings and indicated they plan to initiate corrective action.

Background

The Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Central School District (District) serves the Towns of Albion, Amboy, Hastings, Mexico, Orwell, Parish, Richland, West Monroe and Williamstown in Oswego County.

The District is governed by the Board of Education (Board) comprised of seven elected members, which is responsible for the general management and control of the District’s financial affairs. The Superintendent of Schools (Superintendent) is the District’s chief executive officer, responsible for its day-to-day management and for budget development and administration. The Business Administrator is responsible for the District’s business operations.

Quick Facts
Employees472
Enrollment1,173
2018-19 Budget$32.8 million

Audit Period

July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018. We extended our scope period back to July 1, 2015 to analyze financial trends.


Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

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