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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Report Highlights

Bemus Point Central School District - Financial Management (2019M-216)

Released: February 14, 2020 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether the Board and District officials properly managed fund balance and reserves.

Key Findings

  • The Board overestimated appropriations by a total of $3.1 million from 2016-17 through 2018-19 and annually appropriated an average of $400,000 of fund balance that was not used to finance operations.
  • The District improperly restricted more than $260,000 in its trust and agency fund.
  • As of June 30, 2019, surplus fund balance totaled $708,000 and was 4.5 percent of 2019-20 appropriations, exceeding the statutory limit by approximately $74,000.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets that include reasonable estimates for appropriations and the amount of fund balance that will be used to fund operations.
  • Return the improperly restricted money to the general fund.
  • Reduce surplus fund balance to comply with the statutory limit and use the excess funds in a manner beneficial to taxpayers.

District officials generally agreed with our findings and indicated they would take corrective action. Appendix B includes our comments on issues raised in the District’s response.


The Bemus Point Central School District (District) serves the Towns of Ellery, Ellicott and Gerry in Chautauqua County.

The District is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education (Board). The Superintendent of Schools (Superintendent) is the chief executive officer and is responsible for day-to-day management. The Board, Superintendent and Business Manager are responsible for developing the annual budget. The Business Manager is also responsible for the administration and supervision of financial activities.

Quick Facts
2019-20 General Fund Budget$15.8 million

Audit Period

July 1, 2016 – September 12, 2019

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